When your claim for workers’ compensation is denied, you will be forced to appeal if you want your claim to be successful. The standard that you will need to meet is proving that you have suffered a work-related injury. There is a variety of evidence that you can use to prove your appeal.
The insurance company is also allowed the chance to prove its own case since they are a party to the appeal. One way that each party may be allowed to build evidence in the record is to question someone at a deposition to establish any one of the key facts in the case.
In litigation, a deposition is an important part of the litigation process. In a deposition, one must sit and answer questions from both their attorney and opposing counsel under oath for a certain period of time. In litigation, depositions are meant for factual discovery and for laying the groundwork for later testimony at trial.
People Who May Be Deposed in a Workers’ Comp Claim
The following people may be requested to sit for a workers’ compensation deposition:
- The claimant themselves
- The treating physician
- Any witness to the incident that led to the injury
If you are the claimant, your attendance is necessary at the deposition. You will need to participate to have a chance to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
Depositions are not usually pleasant experiences. You are being grilled for an extended period of time by a lawyer who may be probing what they think is a weakness in your case or trying to catch you in an inconsistency.
People Who Are Present at a Deposition
Usually, the following people are in attendance at the deposition:
- Your lawyer
- The attorney for the insurance company
- A court recorder, who is making the transcript
Besides you, the most important person in attendance for your side is your attorney. They are the one who is monitoring the questioning of you that the other lawyer is doing. They will object to an improper question (such as one that seeks information about a conversation that you may have had with your attorney), and they can ask for a break if you are having a difficult time with the deposition.
Your lawyer will also ask you questions to help establish the record that may prove your eligibility for benefits.
Questions Asked at a Workers’ Compensation Deposition
The purpose of the deposition is to either help prove (or disprove) that you have suffered a work-related injury.
Accordingly, you can expect some of the following questions at a workers’ compensation deposition:
- Your prior medical history: You cannot receive workers’ compensation for an old injury (but you may be entitled to benefits when you have aggravated an old injury). The attorneys will want to establish whether there is a current injury at issue.
- Your current medical condition: The basis of your workers’ compensation claim is that you have suffered an injury at work. The attorneys will try to probe whether you have really suffered an injury.
- Any limitations on your physical activity: To that end, you will face questions about your current physical conditions and whether you can really perform the duties of your job.
- The incident that caused the injury: The prerequisite for a workers’ compensation claim is that you have suffered a work-related injury. The attorney may try to ask questions that they believe may show that you were not injured on the job.
What Happens at a Workers’ Compensation Deposition
You should never attend a deposition without an attorney to defend you, as they will be present to protect your legal rights. You should always be polite and courteous (and not argumentative) with the opposing counsel. You should never guess or speculate because what you say becomes part of the record. If you do not know the answer to a question, you should say so.
After the deposition, you will be given a transcript to review, and your lawyer may try to correct any errors. Then, your deposition exists on the record. If your case proceeds to a hearing in front of an administrative law judge, you may be called to testify. The insurance company’s attorney will point out to a judge if there is any testimony that they believe was inconsistent with your deposition and try to have the answer excluded. The same goes when any other witness’ testimony may not be consistent with what they said at their deposition.
Depositions are a critical part of your workers’ compensation case, and it is essential to prepare for them fully. If you must sit for a workers’ compensation deposition, your right to benefits can be in question. Your workers’ compensation attorney will help you get ready and let you know more about what you can expect at the deposition.
Contact a Wilmington Workers’ Compensation Attorney Today
The attorneys at Horton & Mendez are here to help if you have a difficult or contested workers’ compensation claim. We can work with you to find the strongest arguments to use on appeal in the hopes of reversing an initial denial of your benefits.
Your first step, which you should take immediately after learning that your claim was denied, is to reach out to schedule a free consultation. You can send us a message online or call us today at (910) 668-8067.
Workers’ Compensation Case FAQs
How long do I have to report my injury to my employer?
North Carolina law gives you 30 days from the date of the injury to report it to your employer, either verbally or in writing.
What if my employer does not have workers’ compensation?
If the law requires your employer to have workers’ compensation, and they fail to comply, you may sue the employer in a personal injury lawsuit.
How much compensation can I receive for my lost wages?
You can get two-thirds of your wage before your injury, subject to a weekly cap of $978.00.