When you file a workers’ compensation claim after a workplace injury, your attorney or the workers’ compensation carrier may ask for depositions from you, witnesses, or experts. These depositions are used to build a factual basis for your case. But, what happens after your workers’ compensation deposition is over? First, you’ll review the deposition with your workers’ comp attorney. After the deposition is approved, you may have to take additional action.
What Happens After a Workers’ Compensation Deposition?
During a deposition (typically taken by the insurance company or your attorney), a court reporter types everyone’s words as they’re spoken. This provides a clear, official account of the questions and answers, so they can be used as evidence in court. After the court reporter processes the transcript, you’ll receive a copy to review and sign.
Review the Deposition With Your Lawyer and Sign Off
It’s best to review the deposition with your attorney to make sure you don’t miss important details. If it contains errors, this is your chance to address them in writing on the deposition document. Once you’ve determined it is complete and correct, you sign the deposition transcript, and it becomes official.
Use Depositions to Support Your Workers’ Comp Claim
Unfortunately, giving a deposition does not necessarily mean your claim will be accepted.In particularly difficult cases, your attorney may depose witnesses and experts to bolster your workers’ compensation claim. Witnesses may include people who observed your work accident or were familiar with work practices that led to your injury. Expert statements can support your claim value by providing medical and economic facts. For example, your attorney may depose a doctor to establish that your treatment regimen is necessary.
Continue the Discovery Process
The deposition is only one part of a more extensive discovery process. In addition to taking statements, your attorney must gather and share any evidence they are using to support your claim. The insurance company and their attorney must do the same. Additional discovery may include further witness testimony, documentary evidence, and photos or videos of the accident. Both attorneys will review the evidence for validity. They may also ask the court to remove certain evidence if it violates evidentiary rules. For instance, if the evidence is circumstantial, it may not be admitted.
Engage in Settlement Discussions
Your workers’ compensation claim may seem like a constant settlement discussion (they often are). Depositions and discovery add information that may not have previously been available to both sides. These details can inform a more fruitful settlement discussion between you and the workers’ compensation provider.During settlement discussions, your attorney and the workers’ comp representative bring new information to the table to support their own side or undermine the other side’s position.
What if My Workers’ Comp Claim is Denied?
You may be giving a deposition because the insurance carrier denied your claim or offered a low settlement. Ideally, the additional information from depositions and discovery will help to pursue a fair settlement.Sometimes, however, the deposition and discovery aren’t enough to convince the workers’ compensation carrier to offer a reasonable settlement. If you believe your case is valid, you may still have the following options:
Requesting a Second or Third Medical Opinion
If workers’ compensation denies or reduces your claim based on your treating doctor’s medical opinion, you can seek a second opinion for your case.
Reasons to do this include:
- You disagree with your doctor’s diagnosis or treatment plan.
- Your doctor’s treatment plan is inconsistent with workers’ comp requirements.
- Your doctor failed to provide medical attention consistent with their duty of care in their field.
- Your doctor seems to be working in the interests of your employer or workers’ compensation carrier.
Asking For an Independent Medical Review
Workers’ compensation and your employer are motivated to pay out as little as they can for any workers’ comp claim. If they work with a specific healthcare organization or medical group that is sympathetic to their cause, you could run into roadblocks, even if you seek second or third opinions within the same organization. To counter biased medical practitioners, you can request an independent medical review (IMR) from an independent review organization. During an IMR, a highly qualified doctor reviews your diagnosis and treatment documents to determine whether the treating doctor is acting in a manner consistent with industry standards for their field.If they find that your treating doctor’s methods were inconsistent with the standard of care, you could secure workers’ compensation benefits that were previously denied.
Appealing the Decision
Your workers’ compensation claim could be denied even if your claim is valid. However, you can appeal the decision with your state workers’ compensation board. An independent judge appointed by the board will review your case in a trial. If your denial was not justified, the judge may approve your workers’ compensation benefits.
Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit
If your deposition was taken during the appeal process, and the appeal was denied, you may have to pursue compensation through other avenues. If your injuries aren’t covered by workers’ compensation, you may still be able to file a lawsuit against the responsible party.For instance, if you are a contractor and not a direct employee, your claim may be denied because you aren’t covered by workers’ comp insurance. You could, however, pursue legal action against the employer if you can prove your injuries were due to their negligence.
Contact a Workers’ Compensation Attorney to Discuss Your Options After a Deposition
Depositions are a stressful part of the workers’ compensation process. If you aren’t sure what to expect, contact the workers’ compensation attorneys at KJT Law Group. Our employment attorneys can explain the workers’ comp claim process and help you understand your options. Contact our office online or at (818) 507-8525 today.