Deposition Mistakes In Worker’s Compensation Cases

Most work accidents in Pennsylvania are covered by the workers’ compensation system. When you file a workers’ compensation claim, you receive medical treatment and wage benefits for the work injury.

However, your employer or the workers’ comp insurance provider might object to your worker’s comp claim. You might need to appeal a decision or fight to get the workers’ comp benefits you deserve. In that case, you could be required to attend a workers’  compensation deposition.

What Is a Workers’ Compensation Deposition in Pennsylvania?

A deposition is sworn testimony given outside of a courtroom. A court reporter records the deposition word-for-word. Insurance companies often use workers’ compensation depositions to obtain more information about:

  • The circumstances that led to your work injury or accident 
  • General information about you and your medical history
  • The details of your medical treatment 
  • Information about your symptoms and restrictions on activities 
  • Prior illnesses or injuries 
  • How your injury prevents you from performing your job and other activities 

A workers’ compensation deposition can be stressful for some individuals, especially if they have never been required to provide sworn testimony. The answers you give at the deposition can be used in court because you are under oath. Therefore, knowing the mistakes some people make during workers’ comp depositions and how to avoid them can help you.

Common mistakes made during workers’ compensation depositions include:

Guessing Instead of Stating Facts

Never guess at an answer unless your attorney tells you that it is okay for you to do so. Instead, say that you do not know and do not state anything else in response to the question. Stating facts you do not have direct knowledge of can cause problems for your case.

Exaggerating Physical Symptoms and Limitations 

You might be frustrated that you cannot work after a workplace injury or that you cannot do the same things you did before the accident. However, you need to be careful not to exaggerate restrictions and symptoms because you are frustrated.

A defense attorney could hire an investigator who might follow you and take pictures. For example, if you say that you cannot get off the couch or out of bed because your injuries are so severe, pictures of you shopping for groceries or doing yard work can destroy your case.

Instead, refer to your doctor’s notes before the deposition to refresh your memory about the restrictions and symptoms associated with your injury. Report all symptoms to your doctor so that your medical records back up your testimony at the deposition. 

Becoming Angry and Lashing Out 

The defense lawyer will try to make you angry or frustrated. When people are angry, they tend to blurt out statements that could hurt their case.

Try to remain calm and professional during the deposition. If you feel yourself losing your temper, ask for a bathroom break and talk to your lawyer outside about how you feel.

Failing To Answer Questions Truthfully

Lying about any details of your workers’ compensation case during a deposition is one of the worst mistakes you can make. Instead, you need to answer all questions truthfully. 

Before the deposition begins, the court reporter asks you to swear to tell the truth. Therefore, your responses during the deposition are under oath and subject to a penalty of perjury. 

Using Absolutes When They Do Not Apply

Avoid saying words like never, absolutely, under no circumstances, and always. A skilled defense lawyer can trip you up with absolutes. If the attorney finds one exception, they can make you appear unreliable or untrustworthy. 

Responding to a Question You Do Not Understand

You can ask the defense lawyer to rephrase or repeat the question if you need clarity. Do not answer questions that:

  • The attorney did not ask;
  • You do not understand; or,
  • The attorney has not finished asking.

Continue to ask for clarity until you are sure you understand the information requested. However, do not try to be clever. It is better to answer honestly and truthfully than to avoid answering a question by saying you do not understand. 

Attending a Workers’ Compensation Deposition Without a Harrisburg Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

If you have not hired a Harrisburg workers’ compensation lawyer to handle your case, talk with a lawyer now. You do not want to attend a workers’ comp deposition without legal counsel.

An attorney prepares you for the deposition so that you know what to expect and how to handle yourself. Some lawyers review questions that you can expect the insurance attorney to ask. 

During the deposition, your lawyer cannot tell you how to answer questions. However, your workers’ compensation lawyer is with you to ensure you are treated fairly and the defense lawyer does not break the law during the deposition. 

If you’ve been injured in a workers’ compensation, please contact Marzzacco Niven & Associates at the nearest location to schedule a free consultation today:

Harrisburg Law Office
945 East Park Drive, Suite 103 Harrisburg, PA 17111
(717) 231-1640

York Law Office
2550 Kingston Road, Suite 210A York, PA 17401
(717) 955-8998

Wyomissing Law Office
833 N. Park Road, Suite 103, Room A Wyomissing, PA 19610
(717) 388-2325

Chambersburg Law Office
79 St. Paul Drive, Suite 1 Chambersburg, PA 17201
(717) 388-2378

Carlisle Law Office
354 Alexander Springs Road Carlisle, PA 17015
(717) 995-8732

Carbondale Law Office
30 Lincoln Avenue, Suite 101 Carbondale, PA 18407
(717) 995-8810

Lancaster Law Office
2173 Embassy Drive, Ste 123, Lancaster Pa 17603
(717) 616-2954

Lebanon Law Office
937 Willow Street, Suite D Lebanon, PA 17042-1140
(717) 995-8963