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      RS 23:1317     


§1317.  Hearing on the merits; rules of procedure; effect of judgment; costs; fees of medical witnesses

A.  If an answer has been filed within the delays allowed by law or granted by the workers' compensation judge, or if no judgment has been entered as provided in R.S. 23:1316 at the time for hearing or any adjournment thereof, the workers' compensation judge shall hear the evidence that may be presented by each party.  Each party shall have the right to be present at any hearing or to appear through an attorney.  The workers' compensation judge shall not be bound by technical rules of evidence or procedure other than as herein provided, but all findings of fact must be based upon competent evidence and all compensation payments provided for in this Chapter shall mean and be defined to be for only such injuries as are proven by competent evidence, or for which there are or have been objective conditions or symptoms proven, not within the physical or mental control of the injured employee himself.  The workers' compensation judge shall decide the merits of the controversy as equitably, summarily, and simply as may be.

B.  Costs may be awarded by the workers' compensation judge, in his discretion, and when so awarded the same may be allowed, taxed, and collected as in other civil proceedings.  The fees of expert witnesses shall be reasonable and fixed in the original judgment.  The judgment rendered shall have the same force and effect and may be satisfied as a judgment of a district court.

Acts 1983, 1st Ex. Sess., No. 1, §1, eff. July 1, 1983; Acts 1988, No. 938, §1, eff. July 1, 1989; Acts 1989, No. 23, §1, eff. June 15, 1989; Acts 1989, No. 260, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1990; Acts 1997, No. 88, §1, eff. June 11, 1997; Acts 2004, No. 341, §1, eff. June 18, 2004.

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