5-STAR RATED WORKERS’ COMPENSATION LAWYERS: WHAT IS A DEPOSITION?
If you are filing for workers’ compensation in Minnesota, a court hearing may be in order somewhere in your claim process. However, not all workers compensation claims in the state are settled within the four walls of a courtroom.
More frequently, workers’ compensation claims or any related disputes may warrant a different procedural process. In Minnesota, a workers’ compensation deposition is a common procedure used to settle disputes regarding workers’ compensation eligibility and benefits.
A deposition is smaller than a full-blown court hearing in both its attendance and venue. Here, the only attendees will be you and your lawyer, the other parties involved and their lawyer(s), the judge and a court reporter — no more, no less. Like in a courtroom hearing, you go about your workers’ compensation deposition under oath.
A workers’ compensation deposition involves procedures geared towards the lawful and amicable settlement of your claim. Keep reading below to learn more.
Workers’ Compensation Deposition In a Nutshell
A workers’ compensation deposition is a legal proceeding used to settle workers’ compensation claims. It follows a similar format as a courtroom trial. There is a judge who adjudicates or mediates the proceeding. Also present is legal counsel — both for you and the opposing party.
The goal of a workers’ compensation deposition is a bit different from that of a workers’ compensation trial or hearing.
During a workers’ compensation trial or hearing, the focal point of proceedings is to determine liability. Since Minnesota is a no-fault state, trials or hearings have the goal of settling disputes in claims. In particular, hearings in Minnesota endeavor at the lawful settlement of claims and awards for the injured worker.
A workers’ compensation deposition has the same goal. However, unlike a hearing, a deposition aims to clarify the details of your claim against your employer and the insurance provider.
Thus, the relevant details in a deposition are wide-ranging, including everything surrounding your workers’ compensation claim. These details often focus on:
- Your personal or background information;
- Your employment history with your company or employers;
- The details of your incident;
- The details of your injury;
- Your medical or injury history;
- Medical treatment you have received; and
- Any limitations you still live with resulting from your injury.
What Kinds Of Questions Can I Expect During A Deposition?
Depositions follow a question-and-answer format. The exchanges that occur within the deposition are recorded. The record will serve as evidence for your workers comp claim.
Depending on what the insurance provider’s attorney wishes to establish, you will be asked to respond to certain questions. The main goal of the insurance provider’s attorney in the deposition is to prove that you are not eligible for a workers comp claim or that you are not entitled to certain benefits. Therefore, the insurance provider’s attorney will likely ask the following:
Questions About You
Questions about you and other background information serve as a formality. These questions aim to establish that the deposition is for the right claim and the right person by verifying your identity and history.
Questions About Past Claims
The insurance provider’s lawyer will also ask about past workers’ comp claims you may have made. An extensive history of claims can be an area of concern for all parties involved and will likely be explored in-depth.
Questions About Events Leading Up To The Injury
To be eligible for workers’ comp in Minnesota, the injured worker must prove that their injuries were the result of their job. If a worker sustains injuries as a result of activities outside their shift or duties, they will not be eligible for a claim.
Questions about what you were doing prior to your injury aim to establish the link between your injuries and your job. The insurance provider’s attorney will try to prove that you were injured as a result of activities that had nothing to do with your occupation. This is something you will want to be aware of.
Questions Pertaining To Your Past Injuries and Medical History
To build a non-eligibility case against you, the opposing attorney may also ask about your medical history. A work injury in Minnesota is defined as “any mental impairment or physical injury arising out of and in the course of employment” that results in physical or cognitive impairment. Invoking that definition, the opposing attorney will ask you questions about other injuries you may have had before you worked for your employer. The insurance provider’s attorney does this to assert that past injuries, and not your job, were to blame for your current injury. Having an attorney for this scenario is crucial. Your attorney can point out other definitions of what constitutes a work-related injury outside of the commonly invoked one and otherwise advocate on your behalf.
Questions About Medical Treatment
In many cases, you may be called for a deposition while you are receiving medical care for your injuries. When asked about your treatment and rehabilitation, you need to provide a detailed timeline of the therapy you received. Proper documentation of all medical care you incurred will help expedite these questions.
What Happens After The Workers’ Comp Deposition?
One of two scenarios can occur after wrapping up your workers’ comp deposition:
- One possibility is you and your attorney successfully proved that you are entitled to compensation. By showing how your work activities led to or aggravated your injury, the judge can rule in favor of your receipt of benefits.
- Conversely, the legal proceedings proved your lack of eligibility for compensation or some of workers comp benefits. This would occur once the judge decides that your injury was not the result of your occupation.
Regardless of the outcome, the results of the deposition will be recorded. The records, written or taped, can act as evidence for future reference or as additional documentation for your workers’ comp claim.
Do I Need To Have My Own Attorney For A Deposition?
Having your own attorney is crucial for your workers’ compensation deposition. Your attorney can do more than invoke current Minnesota statutes to build up your case. A good lawyer does the following:
- Help you prepare for the proceedings;
- Ensure that legal process is followed;
- Brief you on the deposition process;
- Dispute unrelated questions or questions that go against the rules of depositions in the state; and
- Interpret confusing questions should any arise.
The most important reason for having your own lawyer for your deposition is to counter your employer’s and the insurance company’s legal arguments. The attorney for your employer’s insurance company will solely advocate on the insurer’s behalf. The insurance provider, in turn, works primarily for the interests of your employer. Having a knowledgeable lawyer working in your corner addresses the power disparity between you, the injured worker, and your employer and the powerful insurance companies.
For this reason, you will likely be better off hiring an experienced, reliable lawyer that will represent you fully and act as your zealous advocate.
A Workers’ Compensation Team With Personal Care.
If you have suffered a work injury and have questions about receiving benefits, contact the Firefighters Lawyers at Schmidt Salita Law Team for a free, no obligation consultation about your unique case and legal needs.
The exceptional track record of Schmidt Salita Law Team speaks for itself with over 70 years of experience in over 10,000 cases, producing over $100 million in recoveries for their clients. The Police Officer Lawyers at the Schmidt Salita Law Team are dedicated to providing legal services with personal attention and care to each case.
Contingent Fee Arrangements Available.
The Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at the Schmidt Salita Law Team understand that the victims of personal injury are often dealing with financial issues due to medical bills, car damage, and lost wages and earnings. Most do not have the financial resources to pay for a lawyer on an hourly basis – especially for a really good lawyer. The answer to this dilemma is the contingent fee contract where the lawyer doesn’t get paid by the hour and the client doesn’t get billed up-front. Instead, the lawyer gets paid on a “commission basis” like a real estate agent, as a percentage of the settlement produced. The Schmidt Salita Law Team offers contingent fee contracts in most cases.
“PERSONAL INJURY LEGAL SERVICES WITH A PERSONAL TOUCH!”
A Schmidt Salita Workers Comp Lawyer will come to your home, or the hospital, for your initial visit. The Schmidt Salita Law Team strives to provide personal injury legal services with a personal touch to help the victims of personal injury through a very difficult time in their lives.