There are many steps in any type of legal case, and workers’ compensation cases are no exception. To those not familiar with the process, it may seem that there is an unending amount of paperwork done in workers’ compensation cases, but the paperwork is an important and essential part of making sure that your attorney has the proper tools to proceed. A crucial part of building a case and a defense to a workers’ compensation case is discovery. Discovery is a process during which each side can ask any question reasonably designed to lead to evidence that can be admissible at trial. These questions may be asked in writing or in person.
In workers’ compensation cases, there are a variety of discovery tools at the disposal of your attorney. Requests for production are a type of discovery allowing your attorney to obtain copies of documents that the employee has or has control over. For example, your attorney can obtain copies of medical records, even if those medical records are from before the work-related injury occurred. This can help your attorney determine if there is reason to believe there may be a pre-existing condition that may require apportionment or additional review by your own medical expert.
Depositions are the type of in-person discovery most commonly utilized. During a deposition, your attorney will be able to ask the employee questions while sitting with him or her, face-to-face. Depositions are given under oath, just as in a court room, and a court reporter will record everything that takes place. Your attorney can use depositions to obtain additional information and ask follow up questions from what was disclosed in the written discovery. Depositions can also be used to force the employee to explain inconsistencies in prior statements and can often be an essential tool in uncovering fraud.
Discovery is an essential part of the workers’ compensation process. If you have questions about discovery in your business’ workers’ compensation case, contact me today at (714) 516-8188 to discuss developing a strategy for your business’ defense.