Few things cause more anxiety for a worker injured on the job in Arizona than attending a deposition prior to their hearing. And there’s really no reason for it. With few exceptions, depositions in Arizona workers compensation claims are incredibly informal affairs. However, they can be extremely important in winning or losing your case if you’re not properly prepared.
The deposition is the insurance carrier’s attorney’s opportunity to ask the injured worker questions under oath to find out information about the claim, and also to gauge how the injured worker will testify if the case goes to court. The deposition is almost always held at the attorney’s office. If you are represented by counsel, your attorney should attend the deposition with you and prepare you for the questions to be asked beforehand. A court reporter is always at the deposition making a written record of what is said.
Most depositions last between 30-60 minutes, depending on the issue and the defense attorney. The questions usually center around the applicant’s work history, how the injury happened, medical treatment that has been received, prior medical history, the applicant’s current symptoms, and other information depending on the issue that is pending before the Court.
The two iron rules that I always tell my clients before depositions are: (1) give short answers; and (2) tell the truth. Most questions can be answered with a simple “yes” or “no”, and perhaps a very brief explanation. Never volunteer information that hasn’t been specifically asked. And tell the truth always – you never know if the carrier has been having an investigator follow you and perform video surveillance. If you say you haven’t done something, and they have you on videotape doing it, the judge won’t believe a word you say.
If your case has gotten to the point where you have a deposition scheduled, you should probably consult with an Arizona Workers/Workmans Compensation Attorney. Litigation is definitely not a do-it-yourself project.
Chad T. Snow is an attorney in Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona, who has handled thousands of Arizona workman’s compensation claims. He can be reached at his website, Snow, Carpio, and Weekley, or at (602) 532-0700 or (520) 647-9000.