When a workers’ compensation case can’t be resolved and a hearing has been requested, any party in the case may request what’s referred to as a “formal discovery.” Discovery in a Georgia workers’ compensation case is the process of gathering information pertinent to the case. Whenever a party requests that the opposing party submit to a discovery, the latter must comply.
Types of Discoverable Information in a Workers’ Compensation Case
The rules of discovery that apply to Georgia workers’ compensation cases are detailed in a piece of legislation called the Georgia Civil Practice Act. There are certain factors that determine whether or not a certain piece of information is discoverable or not.
Namely, O.C.G.A. § 9-11-26(b)(3), specifies that the party requesting discovery can obtain documents and other tangible pieces of evidence “only upon a showing that the party seeking discovery has substantial need of the materials in the preparation of his case and that he is unable without undue hardship to obtain the substantial equivalent of the materials by other means.”
The following are examples of the types of information that are subject to discovery:
- depositions upon oral examination;
- depositions upon written examinations;
- requests for production of documents;
- requests for admissions;
- work records;
- copies of claim notes;
- claims history; and
- investigation reports.
Is surveillance considered discoverable in a worker’s compensation claim?
In some cases, employers and insurers might use a private investigator to conduct surveillance on the claimant in an attempt to collect evidence that can be used to discredit the claim. Surveillance photos or videos can damage a worker’s legitimate case when they are taken out of context. Naturally, the insurer’s attorney wants to keep that information privileged so that the worker’s attorney won’t be prepared to offer an explanation.
The law books don’t specify if surveillance information is privileged or discoverable. The administrative law judge has the authority to discern the discoverability of this information. In most cases, the judge does deem it discoverable and require that the defense provide the documentation to the claimant and the claimant’s attorney.
An Attorney is Your Best Ally at Your Workers’ Compensation Hearing
If your claim was wrongly denied or you couldn’t reach fair terms, and it is scheduled for a hearing, you’ll want to have a workers’ compensation attorney help you prepare. A lawyer can help collect and produce important information, protect privileged info and ensure your case is adequately substantiated before the hearing.
To discuss your claim with one of our Atlanta workers’ compensation lawyers, you’re invited to call Bader Law Firm, LLC. It’s our primary aim to help injured workers successfully resolve their cases. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation at 678-562-5595.