What kind of evidence can an Oregon Workers’ Compensation Judge consider?

Generally, an Oregon Workers' Compensation Judge can consider more kinds of evidence than a state court judge. This is because the formal rules of evidence do not apply in a workers’ compensation hearing like they do in a state court.

A workers’ compensation hearing is an administrative procedure, and the Administrative Law Judge has quite a bit of discretion in deciding what evidence is admitted, and what is not. For example, a Judge could receive and evaluate hearsay evidence. “Hearsay” is a recognizable term, and simply means “what somebody else said.”  Also, in a Workers' Compensation hearing, medical opinions, which are the heart of many cases, can be in writing, whether by report, or in a deposition.  It is rare to have a medical expert to show up live at a hearing, but it does happen.

More often, however, the bulk of the evidence in an administrative hearing at the Workers’ Compensation Board is in the form of medical records, medical reports, and witness testimony. In some cases, a physician may author a report giving an opinion, and refer to documents that are not in the file, or not in the exhibits. Nonetheless, a Judge may decide this opinion can be admitted into evidence. However, the Judge may find that this exhibit is not persuasive, depending upon its reliability.

If you are facing a denied Oregon Workers’ Compensation claim, and have questions about how to prove your case, call us at 503-325-8600. We have extensive experience going to hearing for injured workers.