A Tip to Injured Workers: When The Defendants Take Your Deposition. Written by Eric T. Johnson

If you have filed a workers compensation claim against your employer, and assuming the claim is something of a serious injury case, chances are the employer or their insurance company will at some point take your recorded statement, or your deposition. A deposition is a formal legal proceeding, usually in an informal environment, where there is a court reporter tasked with “recording” your statements “for the record.” A deposition is often said to read like a screen play. A deposition is a formal legal proceeding, (usually in an informal setting). It is a legal proceeding because you the injured worker, will have taken an oath to tell the truth, the whole truth, nothing but the truth,….. under penalty of perjury. It goes without saying, if you go through a formal legal proceeding, it is a good idea to have legal counsel to help you. If you do have legal counsel, it is important to set aside at least an hour in advance of the deposition, to review what kind of questions will likely be asked in your case, and what kind of responses you should give. Obviously, you should always tell the truth because you have taken an oath under penalty of perjury to do so. However, it does not mean that one has to go out of their way to help the defendants, or provide information not being requested. I always tell my clients during our preparatory session, DON’T VOLUNTEER ANYTHING NOT ASKED, AND LISTEN TO THE QUESTION CAREFULLY THAT IS BEING ASKED, AND JUST ANSWER THAT SPECIFIC QUESTION. For some reason, clients will sometimes let down their guard and volunteer all kinds of information that can be used for the defendants advantage. Here is my favorite example: My client is asked where do you live? The question is seemingly simple. The answer should be nothing more than one’s address. In this case, my client volunteered that he lived at so and so, but he was moving next Friday. After the deposition, I told my client that he did not need to volunteer that he was moving next Friday, because that was not the question. But since he volunteered it, the defendants started to ask additional questions like, who is going to help you move, have you hired someone to help, where are you moving to, when are you moving, what time of day, what vehicle are your going to use, etc.etc. I then had to tell my client, that since he volunteered this information to the defendants, and since they now know everything about when and where the move will occur that he should look out for a private investigator to record the entire process. This could have been avoided if he had just answered the question being asked, and not volunteer anything more.