Georgia workers seeking workers' compensation want their claims to be processed quickly, but sometimes an employer or an insurer will dispute the claim. Should a claim be turned down, the injured worker can seek recourse in a workers’ compensation trial. One of the initial steps to be taken before the trial is discovery, which helps set the stage for what will be debated at the trial.
The American Bar Association defines discovery as when the two sides in an upcoming judicial proceeding exchange information about what evidence will be presented in court, as well as about witnesses that will testify. This allows the two sides to gather evidence that answers whatever evidence is presented by the other side, which keeps both parties from being surprised during a trial.
Discovery methods can include depositions. Depositions are statements made under oath outside the court that are used during the court proceeding or to prep for a trial. Depositions can be supplied to the court through a video recording or a written transcript, or even both. Sometimes depositions are made by people who cannot be present during a trial.
There are other methods of discovery. These include interrogatories, which are written questions each side can submit to each other. These questions are to be answered under oath in written form. A party can also have the court issue a written order, called a subpoena, to require the other side to produce evidence, such as documents relevant to the case. A party may also require evidence to be submitted to determine if it is authentic.
According to Georgia state law, however, there are circumstances under which a court may deny discovery. A judge may refuse a method of discovery if it causes a person or a party excessive expense or burden to produce the evidence. Additionally, a judge may turn down discovery if it humilates or oppresses the other party.
In other cases, however, a Georgia judge can simply limit the scope of discovery. A person may grant a deposition but the court will seal it and only open it with a court order. Some discovery methods are conducted only at a particular place and time. Courts may also limit how trade secrets or confidential information is released as part of discovery.
Discovery allows a Georgia worker to gain information from an insurer or employer to help his or her workers’ compensation case. However, the court can also limit discovery under certain circumstances. Workers’ compensation attorneys who understand the law can help a Georgia worker with discovery questions and secure the proper documents to help boost a compensation claim.