I have a workers compensation case and I am still under medical treatment just a week ago I received a notice for an Oral deposition for my employers insurance carrier, does this mean that a settlement negotiation might be in the works or it is just a legal requirement? I was advised surgery for my back I am still undecided, no more Physical therapy and other medical measures as they did not work for me,
**** What is the purpose of the deposition?
A deposition allows an attorney to explore your knowledge about the events and issues in your
case, and to preserve your knowledge in the transcript. If you are unavailable for trial, or if you
cannot remember what happened, the attorney can read the transcript in Court. If your testimony
changes, the attorney can impeach you by reading your deposition testimony.
**** Who will be at the deposition?
There will be a stenographer to record your testimony, your attorney, and an attorney for each
party in the law suit. Sometimes the parties themselves or other witnesses attend a deposition,
but only the attorneys may ask questions.
**** What do I say?
You must answer truthfully the specific questions that you are asked. Listen carefully to each
question and be certain that you understand the question. If necessary, ask to have the question
repeated. Then answer the question as simply as possible. Do not exaggerate or volunteer any
You must answer out loud. A nod or shake of the head, or a mumbled “un-unh” cannot be
recorded as your testimony.
Always be polite and serious in your answer, even if the attorney asking questions is not.
Sarcastic or argumentative witnesses simply invite more questions and prolong the deposition.
**** What if I cannot recall something?
Say so! The events in your case probably occurred months or even years ago. No witness
remembers everything. If you cannot recall, or if you are uncertain about your answer, you
should not make guesses or assumptions.
**** Should I use the deposition to try to convince the other attorney that my
position in the case is right?
Generally, no. The time for persuasion is at trial. Your task at the deposition is to answer
truthfully the specific questions you are asked. If you try to persuade the other attorney or argue
with him, you may reveal too much about your case, and you will certainly prolong the
As a deposition can be used against you in court, I would strongly ure you to retain an attorney to prepare you for deposition, and to appear with you at a deposition.
A case can be lost in deposition, and working with an attorney to prepare for a deposition, and having the attorney appear with you at deposition, are extremely important.
I would strongly urge you to consult immediately with a litigator skilled in this area of the law.
PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS RESPONSE SHOULD NOT BE CONSTRUED AS A LEGAL OPINION OR ADVISE, AND DOES NOT CREATE AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP. IN ORDER TO RENDER A LEGAL OPINION OR ADVISE, THE RESPONDING ATTORNEY WOULD NEED FAR MORE INFORMATION THAN HAS BEEN PROVIDED, AND WOULD NEED TO BE RETAINED PURSUANT TO A WRITTEN FEE AGREEMENT.
An oral deposition is a question and answer interview, under oath, with a court reporter transcribing the questions and your answers, and possibly with you being videotaped as well. If you're represented by a lawyer, your lawyer should prepare you and should defend you from objectionable questions. If you're not represented by a lawyer, get one - you don't want to go into a deposition without counsel.
If you're still under treatment, that's ok, but if you're taking drugs and can't give your best testimony, that would be the first thing the lawyer taking your deposiion would ask, and the furst thing you'd tell them, so they'd know if your answers were reliable or not.
It probably does NOT mean there's a settlement - more likely, it means that your employer's insurance company is doing everything they can to disprove your claim and their lawyer will try to get you to admit you're not hurt as badly as you've claimed you are.
Disclaimer: Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on, since each state has different laws, each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship.
An Oral Deposition is a question and answer period. You would be placed under oath to tell the truth. It might be perjury or insurance fraud if you fail to do so. This is a very serious step in your case. You do not want to do it without an attorney!
If you have an attorney for the deposition, the insurance company must pay for the attorney's time. That means it is free to you! The attorney wil prepare you for the deposition and defend your rights during the deposition. You do not want to do a deposition without an attorney!
The insurance company cannot take your deposition unless a case has been filed with the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board. If they do file the claim, then they will have to pay all of your attorney fees in the future of this case. That means you get your attorney for free! You do not want to do a deposition without an attorney!
That the insurance company wants to take your deposition does not necessarily mean that a settlement is in the works nor is it a requirement. There may be many other reasons. A good workers' comp attorney will be able to figure this one out.
There are many excellent workers' comp attorneys in the L.A. area. Find a good one here at www.avvo.com or at www.caaa.org. CAAA is the association for attorneys who represent injured workers here in California. Or call me for a referral.
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