Florida Workers' Compensation Insurance Scheduled My Deposition?
You got injured at work, you hired an attorney, and filed your claim in court. Now, the attorney for your employer and their workers’ compensation insurance carrier wants to depose you. You may be asking yourself a million questions from what is a deposition, to is it mandatory I attend this deposition, to what can they even ask me at this deposition?
OK, SO TELL ME WHAT IS A DEPOSITION!
If your deposition is scheduled, it is a process where you will be asked to give testimony—under oath— outside the courtroom. While the process can seem informal, as you won’t be in front of a mediator, judge, or jury, a deposition is actually a very important process in your Florida workers’ compensation case. At your deposition, you and your attorney will be present, in addition to the attorney for your employer and their workers’ compensation insurance carrier, a court reporter, and a translator (if needed).
At the commencement of the deposition, the court reporter will put you under oath, which means you are swearing to tell the truth (and the whole truth!). The court reporter is also the person who will be taking down every word that is said during a deposition. This is very important because everything you say at your deposition can be used against you in the future (even years later!).
BUT WHY AM I BEING DEPOSED?
The primary reason for the taking of your deposition is to enable the lawyer who scheduled your deposition the opportunity to discovery any information that may be useful in your case and to further discover what you will say (or to contradict!) what you will say in court.
WHAT KIND OF QUESTIONS SHOULD I EXPECT IN DEPOSITION?
During a deposition, an injured worker may be asked about anything involving matters that are either relevant to the pending legal case or which may lead to facts which ay become relevant. Therefore, it may be difficult to predict exactly what will be asked, but usually you can be asked about your education, work history, medical history, and anything else that may become important, or impact, your workers’ compensation case. What an attorney for the employer and workers’ compensation insurance carrier cannot ask is about conversations you have had with your attorney. There are other times questions may be “objectionable,” where you may not have to give an answer. There instances are rare, but it is important to have an experienced attorney by your side; who knows when to object and what to object to with a legal basis. Ashley C. Pena, Esq. not only has experience sitting with clients and defending them in deposition, but her job as a prior defense attorney placed her on the opposite side of the table of the deposition. This means Ashley C. Pena, Esq. is more equipped to know what may be asked of you and how to avoid dangerous pitfalls, as many times employers and workers’ compensation insurance carriers like to set up injured individuals to hurt their case (surprise, yet again!).
DO I NEED TO BRING ANYTHING WITH ME TO MY DEPOSITION?
The quick answer is no. You should not bring anything with you to a deposition other than what your lawyer instructs you to. Injured individuals often bring many documents with them to their deposition to refer to during the deposition, but this actually can hurt their case and then allows the opposing attorney not only to ask you additional questions related to these documents but also to see what is contained therein.
HOW SHOULD I GO DRESSED TO MY DEPOSITION?
Again, even though you may not be in a court room, a deposition is still a formal proceeding and you should dress accordingly. While this does not mean you need to wear a suit and tie, it is still important to remember the opposing attorney will be evaluating you on your appearance. Therefore, you want to have a neat appearance. While a tank top and shorts are appropriate for the sunshine and heat the State of Florida offers, this attire is not appropriate for your deposition. It is best to wear a nice shirt and nice pants.
DOES IT MATTER IF I SAY SOMETHING THAT ISN’T TRUE?
Absolutely! After your deposition the opposing party will continue to investigate your case and everything you said during deposition. Therefore, if you testified to something that is not true or misleading, you can lose your rights to all of your Florida workers’ compensation benefits. With that being said, if you can’t remember every single fact about questions you are being asked, just let the questioner know you are not certain of your answer.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER MY DEPOSITION?
As stated before, the opposing party will continue to investigate everything you said during your deposition to see how it can affect your case. For example, if you testified you went to a hospital a month before your accident, the opposing party may issue a “subpoena” to that hospital, which is basically them requesting the hospital you went to provide them records from your visit. If your work accident involved a back injury and you testified you went to the hospital for kidney issues, but the subpoena reveals you actually treated for your back a month before your deposition—then this will allow the employer and workers’ compensation insurance carrier to deny you benefits or potentially your entire claim. However, if you hire Pena Law Group, P.A. to represent you, you will be adequately prepared for your deposition.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR-ASHLEY C. PENA, ESQ.- FLORIDA WORKERS’ COMPENSATION & PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY
Ashley C. Pena, Esq. has many years of litigation experience in Florida Workers Compensation and personal injury lawsuits. Mrs. Pena is a zealous advocate for her clients and will always fight for their rights. She offers free consultations and speaks Spanish. Call today to see how Pena Law Group, P.A. has helped countless individuals fight “the big guys” throughout the State of Florida and see how we can help you today.