Being injured on the job can be a scary experience, and not just because an on-the-job accident causes physical harm to a person. In addition to injuries that may demand medical care and even leave a worker with disabilities, being injured on the job can be nerve-wracking because it may raise questions about how an injured worker will recover compensation for their losses.
In the state of Florida, workers’ compensation insurance is designed to provide no-fault benefits to those who are injured while performing work-related duties. However, not all workers’ compensation claims are approved.
If your workers’ compensation claim is disputed, you may need to appeal the decision. If so, the discovery process will begin, which will likely include depositions. Consider the following about common mistakes in the deposition process, and how working with an attorney can help.
What Are Depositions?
A deposition is a sworn testimony that is given under oath. During a deposition, a court recorder will be responsible for recording everything that you say, and you are obligated to tell the truth. When you are deposed (the process of answering questions during a deposition), both your attorney and the opposing attorney will ask you questions.
The point of a deposition is twofold: First, when your attorney asks you questions, you are given an opportunity to talk about your accident and the extent of your injuries, as well as the extent of damages that you have suffered. Second, the insurance company uses depositions to investigate your claim.
Common Deposition Mistakes in Workers’ Compensation Cases
It is very important that you practice what you will say and how you will respond to questions during a deposition before you are deposed under oath. The opposing lawyer will likely be very skilled, and may lead you down a path that is intended to trip you up. While you will most likely review the following with your attorney, some common deposition mistakes to avoid in a workers’ compensation case include:
- Providing facts or information that you are unsure about. One of the worst things that you can do during a deposition is to answer questions, or to provide information, about things that you are unsure about. For example, if you are asked a question about what time your incident occurred, and you honestly do not know, simply say, “I don’t know.” Saying that you do not know is much better than making something up or making an untrue claim.
- Acting in an unprofessional way during the deposition. Depositions can be very frustrating. You may become upset or emotional because the issue is close to you. You may feel as though the opposing side does not believe you and they do not care about your injuries. No matter what you do, do not act outin an emotional and unprofessional way. Raising your voice or otherwise losing your cool can be damaging to your case.
- Failing to answer questions completely or honestly. Just as you should never create answers when you are unsure, you should never fail to answer a question honestly or completely if you are. For example, if you are asked by the attorney to give details about a previous injury you have suffered, do not claim that you never suffered that injury, or that you aren’t sure when or how it happen.
- Hyperbolizing injuries, causation, disability, etc. Never hyperbolize or exaggerate any details related to your case. Not only are you giving your testimony under oath–and therefore you have an obligation to tell the truth–but hyperbolizing any facts hurts your credibility.
- Trying to formulate your answer in a manipulative way. When you are being deposed, you may be tempted to try to form an answer to a question in a way that helps your case. Avoid doing that, instead just focus on being honest and telling the truth. Say yes or no, and only provide additional details if asked.
Our Experienced Florida Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Help You to Appeal and Prepare for Deposition
If you are injured on the job in Florida and you are not immediately provided with the benefits that you believe you deserve, contact our experienced workers’ compensation attorneys at the offices of Whibbs Stone Barnett Attorneys at Law. Our attorneys will guide you through all parts of the workers’ compensation appeals process, including preparing for a deposition. Contact Whibbs Stone Barnett Attorneys at Law today to schedule your initial consultation. You can reach our office at (888) 219-4561.