California has strict rules and procedures in place for workers’ compensation disputes. At a workers’ compensation trial, a judge has the authority to develop the record. You may be wondering: What does it mean to develop the record in a workers’ compensation case? The short answer is that it means the judge is seeking additional evidence before proceeding. Here, our Fresno workers’ compensation defense attorneys offer a more detailed explanation of the most important things employers and insurers need to know about developing the record in California.

Developing the Record: An Overview of Workers’ Compensation Disputes in California

To understand how the concept of developing the record applies to a workers’ compensation dispute, you first need to understand the importance of discovery. As defined by the Legal Information Institute, discovery is a pre-trial procedure during which parties to a dispute exchange relevant information with each other. At the conclusion of discovery, a legal dispute can move forward.

However, in some cases, a judge may decide that there has not been enough evidence produced to resolve the underlying dispute, and in this circumstance, may order further development of the record. In effect, this means that the judge is requesting one (or both parties) to provide additional evidence—either by turning over additional documents or by answering specific questions.

The Process Cannot Go on Indefinitely

There is a balance to be struck between the need to obtain as much information about a case as possible and the need to move forward with the matter to reach a resolution. The record cannot be developed indefinitely. At certain points, the process must move forward. For example, under California Labor Code §5502(e)(3), discovery is ordered closed at a Mandatory Settlement Conference (MSC). An MSC is one of the final steps that a judge can use to try to settle a dispute.

Discovery is Complicated—Every Workers’ Compensation Claim is Unique

In a California workers’ compensation case either party can request to develop the record. In some cases, an employer or insurer may need additional evidence or information to proceed, either in building its legal defense or in getting the information needed to enter settlement negotiations. In other cases, the workers’ compensation applicant may request further development of the record. How exactly this matter should be handled in defending a work injury claim depends entirely on the specific facts of the case. There is not necessarily one correct approach to defend a workers’ compensation claim.

Get Help From a Workers’ Compensation Defense Attorney Right Away

At Yrulegui & Roberts, our California workers’ compensation defense lawyers work tirelessly to help our clients get the best outcome in their case. If you have any questions about developing the record in a workers’ comp case, we are more than ready to help. Contact us today for a strictly confidential case evaluation. We are proud to serve communities throughout the region, including Fresno, Bakersfield, Sacramento, Stockton, Redding, San Jose, Salinas, San Luis Obispo, Oxnard, and Van Nuys.