Jason was injured in a workplace accident and filed a Florida workers’ compensation claim. While dealing with the physical and emotional pain of the accident, he learned he would be required to give a deposition.
Nervous and anxious about the process, Jason turned to the internet for answers. He read stories about how depositions can harm a person’s case, leaving him feeling even more uncertain about what to expect.
If you are in a similar situation as Jason, it’s important to understand the deposition process, its purpose, and how to avoid common workers’ comp deposition mistakes. By avoiding these mistakes, you can give a stronger and more compelling testimony, which can help you receive the compensation you need to recover from your injury.
At Lyle B. Masnikoff & Associates, P.A., our experienced Florida workers’ compensation lawyers will go the extra mile for you and are here to answer any questions you may have to help you prepare for your deposition. Call us at (866) 519-3831 or complete our online form to schedule your FREE consultation.
What Is a Deposition, and Can It Harm Your Case?
A deposition is an out-of-court oral testimony given under oath and recorded by a court reporter for later use in court proceedings. It is a part of the discovery process where attorneys gather evidence and information from witnesses or parties involved in a legal case. Depositions can be taken at the law office of the opposing attorney or in a neutral office space.
Depositions can be used to contradict or impeach a deponent’s testimony (person who gives sworn testimony in a deposition) as a witness in court proceedings.
Giving a deposition can be a crucial part of a legal case, but it can also work against you if you’re not careful. Here are a couple of ways giving a deposition can potentially harm your case:
- Revealing damaging information: If you say something in your deposition that could be used against you in court, it could hurt your case. For example, if you admit to doing something illegal or unethical, that information could be used to undermine your defense.
- Allowing the opposing counsel to catch you off guard: Depositions can be stressful and intimidating, and the opposing counsel may ask tricky or confusing questions to trip you up. It could hurt your case if you’re unprepared or don’t know how to handle these situations.
Common Workers’ Comp Deposition Mistakes
To ensure giving a deposition works in your favor, it’s critical to avoid these common workers’ comp deposition mistakes:
Mistake #1: Failing to Adequately Prepare
One of the biggest mistakes you can make during a deposition is to show up unprepared. You should review all the documents and evidence related to your case beforehand to provide accurate and complete answers to the questions asked during the deposition.
Any inconsistencies in your testimony can be used against you later on in your case. To avoid this mistake, take the time to review your medical records, incident reports, and other documents to refresh your memory and ensure you understand the details of your case.
Example: If you’re unsure about something or don’t remember a detail, it’s better to say so rather than guess or make something up.
Mistake #2: Exaggerating Your Injuries or Failing to Mention Pre-Existing Ones
While it’s important to be honest about the extent of your injuries, exaggerating them can actually hurt your case. If it’s discovered that you’ve been dishonest or misleading about your injuries, it could damage your credibility and make it more difficult for you to obtain benefits. Stick to the facts and provide accurate information about how your injuries have affected you.
Example: If you claim you didn’t have any pre-existing injuries, but your medical records show otherwise, the opposing counsel can bring this to light, making it harder for you to prove your case.
Mistake #3: Volunteering Too Much Information
Though you need to answer the questions asked of you during the deposition, you should avoid providing too much additional information that isn’t relevant to the question.
Instead, focus on answering only the questions asked of you, and wait for the next question before giving additional information.
Example: If the opposing counsel asks whether you saw any witnesses during the accident, answer only with a “yes” or “no,” and wait for the next question.
Mistake #4: Being Unprofessional or Argumentative
The deposition is a formal legal proceeding, and it’s essential to remain calm, respectful, and professional. Avoid arguing or becoming confrontational, as this can damage your credibility and harm your case. Remain composed and focused on answering the questions asked of you.
Example: If you feel that a question is irrelevant, don’t get defensive or refuse to answer. Instead, let the opposing counsel ask their question and answer only the question asked.
Mistake #5: Not Asking for Clarification
If you need help understanding a question or are unsure about what is being asked of you, feel free to ask for clarification. It’s better to ask for a question to be repeated or rephrased than to give an inaccurate or misleading answer. This will help ensure that your deposition accurately reflects the facts of your case.
Example: If you’re asked about the duration of your injury, and you’re unsure if they’re referring to the duration of the accident or its aftermath, ask for clarification to avoid confusion.
How a Workers’ Compensation Attorney Can Help You Prepare for Your Deposition
If you’re preparing for a deposition related to your workers’ compensation case in Florida, you need an experienced attorney by your side. A workers’ comp attorney can help you understand what to expect during the deposition process and ensure you are fully prepared.
Here are some ways that a workers’ comp attorney can assist you in preparing for your Florida deposition:
- Reviewing the facts of your case: Your attorney will review all of the details of your case with you, including any medical records, witness statements, and other evidence. This will help ensure that you are fully prepared to answer any questions that may come up during the deposition.
- Explaining the deposition process: Your attorney will explain what to expect during the deposition process, including who will be present, how long it will last, and what types of questions may be asked.
- Practicing with mock depositions: Your attorney may conduct mock depositions with you to help prepare you for the real thing. This can help alleviate any anxiety or nervousness and ensure you are comfortable answering questions under pressure.
- Providing legal guidance: During the deposition, your attorney will provide legal guidance and ensure your rights are protected. They can object to inappropriate or irrelevant questions to prevent the opposing counsel from overstepping their bounds.
Here are some tips that can help you give a successful deposition and present the strongest possible case for your claim.
|Get a good night’s sleep||Being well-rested and alert is crucial to providing accurate and effective testimony|
|Keep answers brief and to the point||Avoid providing irrelevant information and stay focused on answering only the question asked|
|Answer “yes” or “no” to yes/no questions without elaboration||Answer only the question asked and avoid offering additional information|
|Think before you speak||Take time to consider your answer before responding to a question|
|Dress appropriately||Dress professionally to show that you’re taking the deposition seriously|
|Ask for a break if needed||Take a break if necessary to maintain composure and clarity of thought|
|Never volunteer information||Answer only the question asked and avoid offering additional information|
|Listen and understand the question before answering||Wait until the attorney finishes asking the question before answering|
|Avoid making jokes during the deposition||Stay focused and professional and avoid making jokes or trying to be humorous|
|Don’t let opposing counsel get you angry or excited||Stay composed and avoid being provoked or agitated|
|Don’t discuss the deposition during a break with anyone except your lawyer||Only speak with your lawyer privately and out of the hearing of others|
Nervous About Your Workers’ Compensation Deposition? Prepare with the Help of an Experienced Florida Workers’ Comp Attorney
If you’re filing a workers’ compensation claim in Florida and are required to give a deposition, it’s essential to take the necessary steps to prepare beforehand. Avoiding common workers’ comp deposition mistakes and knowing how to present a strong case can help ensure you receive just compensation for your injuries.
The workers’ compensation lawyers at Lyle B. Masnikoff & Associates, P.A., have years of experience and a proven track record of success in preparing clients for their depositions and obtaining compensation for their injuries.
Our experienced Florida workers’ compensation attorney team will go the extra mile for you. Contact our office today at (866) 519-3831 for a FREE consultation. If more convenient, you can also fill out our online form here.
Copyright © 2023. Lyle B. Masnikoff & Associates, P.A. All rights reserved.
The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country, or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.