What's Different About a Workers’ Compensation Deposition?

| by Heather Duncan, Esq.

Depositions in workers’ compensation cases are slightly different from those in California state court or federal court civil cases. In a workers’ compensation case the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board is the trial court and the case is governed by the California Labor Code.

California Labor Code section 5710 (a) provides:

“The appeals board, a workers’ compensation judge, or any party to the action or proceeding, may, in any investigation or hearing before the appeals board, cause the deposition of witnesses residing within or without the state to be taken in the manner prescribed by law for like depositions, in civil actions in the superior courts of this state."

This deposition rule is the same:  When a deposition is taken in any California Workers’ Compensation matter California Rules apply procedurally but not substantively. Therefore, workers’ compensation deponents have the same 30-day right for review and signature of their transcript under the California Code of Civil Procedure as depositions taken any California state court matter.

Here is where the rules change:  Under California Labor Code section 5710 (b), when an employer or insurance carrier requests a deposition of an injured employee the employee is entitled to receive coverage by the employer or insurance carrier for the expenses associated with attending the deposition and a copy of the transcript of the deposition paid for by the employer or insurance company. Further, if the injured employee does not speak or understand the English language, the employer must pay for a certified language interpreter to be in attendance at the deposition. 

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