Do I Have to Submit to A Deposition?
A deposition is a formal event and is part of almost every litigated case in a Workers' Compensation Claim and in automobile injury cases. The deposition gives the insurance company, through their lawyers, a set time when the insurance lawyer may obtain sworn testimony from the injured worker or the plaintiff in an automobile accident case. They can only put you under oath one time (there are a few exceptions).
Lawyers in Workers' Compensation cases who represent the injured workers, in my experience, tend to treat the deposition process too casually. Most of the lawyers limit their preparation of the client to the 30 minutes before the deposition. This is a fatal mistake! I submit that you cannot prepare the client appropriately in 30 minute. In fact, based on the traffic patterns in Atlanta, the 30 minutes preparation time may turn into 10 minutes if the client gets caught in heavy traffic.
Proper deposition preparation should be done at least 3 days or a week before the deposition. I always take 1-2 hours to prepare the client.
The overarching issue at a deposition is to always and without fail, to tell the whole truth. The insurance lawyer and their team of paralegals and investigators will know more about the worker or plaintiff that they will depose than you would ever believe. They have done their homework about your past. Count on it.
They know of your record, convictions, prior injuries to specific body parts, so, at the deposition, when they ask whether you have EVER been injured before, you cannot dodge the question. If you hide or withhold the answer, you will later, in court, be made to look like a liar.
Judges do not want to hear about your past criminal record (traffic offenses to minor misdemeanors) but if you lie about your past, then your character becomes an issue. Then the judge will “sour” on you, finding you are not credible.
When you swear under oath, to tell the truth at a deposition, you better do so! Much is at stake!