GIVING A DEPOSITION
When an Application for Adjudication of Claim is filed with the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board, the insurance company will sometimes seek further information by asking for your testimony to discuss the facts of your claim, your medical history, and your employment history. The process is relatively informal, done in an attorney’s office, with your attorney, the insurance company attorney, possibly a representative from your employer, and a court reporter who will capture everything that is said. This process is a called a deposition, and other than obtaining your medical records, this is the primary means of discovery available to the insurance company for your employer.
Most depositions can be accomplished in 1-2 hours, although some take longer in very complex cases or where there are multiple employers involved. Before the deposition, you will meet with your attorney and go over the facts of the case, as well as the procedural “do’s” and “do nots” of the process. Before meeting with your attorney, gather up all your prescriptions and any records and a list of the doctors you have seen, as well as their addresses if you have that information. Bring these items with you to the meeting.
Expect the preparation time with your attorney, before your deposition starts, to be about 1 hour. Your attorney will advise you of the location and when to be there. It is very important that you arrive on time to meet with your attorney. Do not bring any family members with you to the deposition…they will not be allowed in the deposition room. If English is not your native language and you would be more comfortable giving the deposition in another language, make sure your attorney knows this well in advance. An interpreter will be provided.
People are often nervous about testifying in a deposition, but you needn’t worry. In reality, depositions are usually rather low key and non-confrontational. Your attorney will be there beside you to make sure you are treated with the professionalism and respect you deserve.
The testimony that is given in your deposition may be reviewed by your doctors and may also be reviewed by a judge of the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board if some part (or all) of your case is disputed and given to a judge to decide. Your deposition is your chance to tell your story for the record and will help your case as long as you tell the truth as best you know it.
Certified Specialist, Workers' Compensation, The State Bar of California
Board of Legal Specialization