How to Handle a Deposition in Your Ohio Workers’ Comp Case
The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation and your employer can investigate and challenge your claim for medical coverage and replacement wages following a work-related injury or occupational illness. This makes a workers’ comp claim a lot like a personal injury case. One the things that means is that you will probably get called to give a deposition before a decision is made to award to deny benefits.
Also like in a personal injury case, you have an undeniable right to receive advice and representation from a lawyer who specializes in helping people with workers’ comp claims. Preparing you for a workers’ comp deposition will be among the services your attorney provides.
What Is a Deposition?
Lawyers schedule depositions to collect testimony from people involved in a case. As the person who filed a workers’ comp claim, you will be called in to answer questions about how you got injured or fell ill, as well as about your medical care, recovery and current health.
Depositions are recorded (usually on video), and a transcript is produced. The official record of the deposition will be shared with you and your workers’ comp attorney, and you will have a chance to correct or amend answers.
Sitting for a deposition will not be fun. You will probably feel nervous, and you maybe still be in pain from your work-related injury or suffering from symptoms of your occupational illness.
Knowing what to expect as you go through the legal deposition process in your workers’ comp case and planning on how to answer expected question will relieve tension. It will also make it easier to provide answers that strengthen you claim for benefits.
After your deposition is scheduled, sit down with your workers’ compensation lawyer to review the accident or illness report you filed, go over your medical records, and discuss how to respond to questions. Ask your lawyer what bits of information you can keep confidential, and work on giving clear explanation of complicated situations.
Understand What You Will Be Asked
During your deposition, be ready to talk about each of the following topics.
- Yourself and Your Employment History—You will be asked to confirm your name, age, birthday, current address, and years of school you completed. Lawyers will also ask to list and describe your previous jobs, the job you held when you got injured or fell ill, and whether you have filed for workers’ comp benefits before now.
- How You Suffered Your Injury or Developed Your Illness—Give a detailed account of everything you remember and experienced. Keep this factual and stay focused on your own experiences rather than what you suspect or heard other people say.
- Previous Injuries and Illnesses—Preexisting conditions will not disqualify you from receiving workers’ comp benefits, but the program and your employer will want to probe whether your symptoms are new or more severe.
- Medical Care and Therapy for Your Work-Related Injury or Occupational Illness—Walk the lawyers through all your encounters with doctors and therapists from your first hospital visit to the morning of your deposition. You must establish the need for coverage of medical and therapy expenses.
- Disabilities or Work Restrictions Resulting From Your Injury or Illness—Evidence that you cannot resume all of your former job duties strengthens your claim for workers’ comp benefits and may qualify you for permanent disability payments.
Give Good Answers
Speak clearly and tell the truth. Request breaks when you need to, and stay hydrated.
Answer only the questions you are asked and make sure you understand each question before you answer. Do not be shy about asking lawyers to repeat or rephrase their questions and to define terms that seem unfamiliar. Above all, when you do not know an answer, tell the lawyers, “I don’t know.”
While preparing for the deposition, practice providing responses that read as well as they sound. For instance, get in the habit of saying “my left foot” instead of pointing and muttering “that one.”
If you need help preparing for your workers’ comp deposition, consider reaching out to an attorney in the Columbus offices of Agee Clymer Mitchell & Portman. We offer free consultations, and we take appointments online. To speak with a lawyer directly, call us at (614) 221-3318 or (800) 678-3318.