2014 Oklahoma Statutes
Title 85A. Administrative Workers' Compensation System
§85A-72. Conduct of Hearing or Inquiry - Public hearings - Evidence.
A. Conduct of Hearing or Inquiry.
1. In making an investigation or inquiry or conducting a hearing, the administrative law judges and the Commission shall not be bound by technical or statutory rules of evidence or by technical or formal rules of procedure, except as provided by this act. The administrative law judges and the Commission may make such investigation or inquiry, or conduct the hearing, in a manner as shall best ascertain the rights of the parties.
2. Declarations of a deceased employee concerning the injury may be received in evidence and may, if corroborated by other evidence, be sufficient to establish the injury.
3. When deciding any issue, administrative law judges and the Commission shall determine, on the basis of the record as a whole, whether the party having the burden of proof on the issue has established the proof by a preponderance of evidence.
4. Administrative law judges are required to make specific, on-the-record findings of ultimate facts responsive to the issues shaped by the evidence as well as conclusions of law on which its judgment is to be rested.
B. Hearings to be Public - Records.
1.a.Hearings before the Commission shall be open to the public and shall be stenographically reported. The Commission is authorized to contract for the reporting of the hearings.
b.The Commission shall, by rule, provide for the preparation of a record of all hearings and other proceedings before it.
2. The Commission shall not be required to stenographically report or prepare a record of joint petition hearings. The administrative law judge or legal advisor shall record the hearing at no cost to the parties.
C. Introduction of Evidence.
1. All oral evidence or documentary evidence shall be presented to the designated representative of the Commission at the initial hearing on a controverted claim. The oral evidence shall be stenographically reported. Each party shall present all evidence at the initial hearing. Further hearings for the purpose of introducing additional evidence shall be granted only at the discretion of the hearing officer or Commission. A request for a hearing for the introduction of additional evidence shall show the substance of the evidence desired to be presented.
2.a.Any party proposing to introduce medical reports or testimony of physicians at the hearing of a controverted claim shall, as a condition precedent to the right to do so, furnish to the opposing party and to the Commission copies of the written reports of the physicians of their findings and opinions at least seven (7) days before the date of the hearing. If no written reports are available to a party, the party shall notify in writing the opposing party and the Commission of the name and address of the physicians proposed to be used as witnesses and the substance of their testimony at least seven (7) days before the hearing.
b.If the opposing party desires to cross-examine the physician, he or she should notify the party who submits a medical report to him or her as soon as practicable, in order that he or she may make every effort to have the physician present for the hearing.
3. A party failing to observe the requirements of this subsection may not be allowed to introduce medical reports or testimony of physicians at a hearing, except in the discretion of the hearing officer or the Commission.
4. The time periods may be waived by the consent of the parties.
D. Expert testimony shall not be allowed unless it satisfies the requirements of Federal Rule of Evidence 702 with annotations and amendments.
Added by Laws 2013, c. 208, § 72, eff. Feb. 1, 2014.
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