Although every workers’ compensation case has a unique set of facts and legal issues, depositions of injured workers usually follow a similar pattern and cover similar topics.
1. Identifying Information. Defense attorneys will ask you to provide a great deal of information regarding yourself, including your:
- Full Name
- Maiden Name
- Current Address
- Names of Residents at Current Address
- Addresses During Last Five Years
- Marital Status and Name of Husband or Wife
- Names of Children and Other Dependents
- Driver’s License Number
- Social Security Number
- Whether you are a citizen of the United States
- Whether you are legally able to work in the United States
- Educational History
- Criminal History
Although defense attorneys ask several questions regarding injured workers’ background and personal history, the majority of these questions are intended to elicit general information and allow the attorney to “get a feel” for the injured worker. Defense attorneys always ask injured workers whether they have been convicted of a felony, so don’t be offended if you are asked this question. You must disclose this information truthfully if asked during your deposition; therefore, you should be sure to speak with your attorney about any prior arrests or convictions before your deposition begins.
2. Previous Employment. Defense attorneys likely will ask you to provide the following information regarding your employment history:
- Names of Prior Employers
- Addresses of Prior Employers
- Dates of Prior Employment
- Job Duties with Prior Employers
- Names of Immediate Supervisors with Prior Employers
- Whether you Suffered any Injuries with Prior Employers
- Reason you Ceased Employment with Prior Employers
If you are asked about any prior on-the-job injuries, it is critical that you answer truthfully even if you had a prior on-the-job injury. And this is true even if your prior on-the-job injury was the same or similar to your current on-the-job injury. Similarly, if you were terminated by any prior employers, you must disclose any such terminations if you are asked. Defense attorneys can easily obtain your prior medical and employment records, so lying to them or failing to disclose this type of information likely will allow them to impeach you and hurt your credibility.
3. Previous Medical History. Defense attorneys usually cover your medical history very thoroughly. In so doing, they will usually ask you whether you have suffered from any of the following:
- Prior Non-Work-Related Accidents/Injuries
- Prior Work-Related Accidents/Injuries
- Prior Automobile Accidents/Injuries
- Prior Motorcycle Accidents/Injuries
- Prior Pedestrian Accidents/Injuries
- Prior Slip-and-Fall Accidents/Injuries
- Prior Sports-Related Accidents/Injuries
- Prior Military-Related Accidents/Injuries
- Chronic Medical Conditions or Diseases
- Names of Prior Medical Providers
You must disclose information regarding your past medical history if asked; therefore, if you have suffered any of the above-referenced accidents or injuries (or any others), you should speak with your attorney about them before your deposition. Insurance companies have access to computerized records of injuries reported to any insurance company, and defense attorneys generally are able to obtain prior medical records, so there is no sense in lying about your prior medical history when asked. You may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits even if you suffered from a prior injury or medical condition, but if you lie or fail to disclose this type of information when asked, you almost certainly will hurt your chances of receiving workers’ compensation benefits.
4. Description of On-the-Job Accident. Workers’ compensation in Georgia is a “no fault” system, so, with some exceptions, the cause of your accident won’t matter too much. Your attorney should discuss your accident with you before your deposition, so if he or she does not, you should be sure to discuss this with them if you are concerned about it for any reason.
5. Medical Treatment for On-the-Job Injuries. You should be prepared to name all of the doctors who have examined or treated you for your on-the-job injury regardless of who sent you to each doctor. In addition, you should be prepared to describe the type of treatment that each doctor provided and to explain whether and how the treatment improved your condition.
6. Current Disability. Defense attorneys always ask injured workers to list and explain their symptoms, and to explain how these symptoms limit their ability to perform work of any kind. Along these lines, they will also ask injured workers to explain what types of work and non-work-related activities they could perform before their accidents but not after their accidents. Finally, they usually ask injured workers what they have been doing in the spare time since their accidents.