A workers’ compensation deposition is the taking and recording of testimony of a witness under oath before a court reporter in a place away from the courtroom before trial. This is a very common proceeding when an injured worker files for a hearing before the State Board of Workers’ Compensation.
A deposition is part of “discovery”, arranged by an attorney for one of the parties to a lawsuit demanding the sworn testimony of the opposing party (defendant or claimant), a witness to an event, or an expert intended to be called at trial by the opposition.
If the person requested to testify (the deponent) is a party to the lawsuit or someone who works for an involved party, notice of time and place of the deposition can be given to the other side’s attorney.
The testimony is taken down by the court reporter, who will prepare a transcript, if requested and paid for, which assists in trial preparation and can be used in trial either to contradict (impeach) or refresh the memory of the witness, or be read into the record if the witness is not available.
In a workers’ compensation setting, the ALJ has unfettered discretion to admit a deposition into evidence at a hearing regardless of availability of the deponent or whether the deposition was taken for the purposes of discovery or for use as evidence. See, O.C.G.A. § 34-9-102 (d)(3).