How to prepare for your Defense Base Act Deposition
Your Defense Base Act claim for benefits for your injuries has been filed. You sustained injuries while working with a DBA contractor and now you have been scheduled to have your deposition taken. If you have never had your deposition taken before, then you are probably wondering what to expect. A deposition is an informal court setting where the attorney for your former employer will question you about your claim. This is essentially your opportunity to tell your story. Even though this is an informal proceeding, you will be sworn in by a court reporter and will answer all the questions under oath. This means that your testimony will have the same force and effect as if you were sitting in an actual court room before Judge. This is why all of your testimony must be one hundred percent truthful and to the absolute best of your knowledge. Do NOT guess!
The attorney for the employer and insurance company will ask you questions about a variety of topics. These topics will include some of your background information (questions about your family, residence, education, etc.), your employment history up to the date of your injury, your employment history since your injury, and your entire medical history. All of these questions are an effort by the defense attorney to obtain as much information as possible from your own words. This is why it’s very important to know what to expect and how to respond in a deposition. All of your testimony will be presented to the Judge, should your case go to trial, and the Judge will determine whether or not you are credible based upon your testimony. Therefore, it is imperative that you tell the truth and do not guess when responding to the attorney’s questions. When it comes to dates, times, quantities of measurement; it is okay to approximate as long as you let the attorney know you are doing so. It is perfectly fine to say “I don’t remember” or “I’m not sure.” It is not okay to state an answer is absolutely correct if you only “think” it is correct.When the defense attorney is asking you these questions, it is very important to listen closely to the question that’s being asked and give an answer that only responds to the question. It’s very common in everyday conversation to give more explanation or elaboration before getting to your point, but for your deposition, that’s not ideal. You want to be direct and to the point as much as possible. Don’t volunteer information! If you give too much of an explanation about something the attorney didn’t ask you about, you could say something harmful to your claim or open the door for more questioning that could’ve been avoided. An easy way to approach a deposition is if the question calls for a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ answer, then just simply state ‘Yes’ or ‘No.’ Trust me, if the attorney wants more information or more of an explanation, he or she will ask.
It is very beneficial to have an attorney alongside you during your deposition because then you would have a legal representative making sure the defense attorney does not act or ask questions improperly. Without proper representation, you will be at the mercy of an attorney who has been trained to get the information they need to build their case against your claim. Here at Attorneys Jo Ann Hoffman & Associates, we make sure the injured clients whom we represent are well-prepared for their deposition. We will be right there with you through this process because helping the injured is our passion.