Resolving Your Workers' Compensation Claim Using Mediation

Law Blog

When a workplace injury is so severe that it affects your ability to work at your job, you are entitled to be paid a lump sum payment. The process toward that ultimate settlement offer can be difficult for those dealing with health issues as a result of an injury. To find out what to expect, read on and learn about a common step on the path toward a settlement — mediation.

The Settlement Process

The final step in your quest for compensation could be to take legal action. Before that happens, however, there are several events meant to resolve issues you have with the claim and settlement prior to going to court. Taking a worker's comp case before a judge could have mixed results, and it usually takes a lot more time and money to litigate rather than negotiate. Take a look at the following steps in a typical workers' comp case:

  1. Hire a workers' compensation lawyer. You will need the support and expertise of a lawyer to help you know what you deserve to get and to negotiate on your behalf to get it.
  2. Informal negotiations begin. Often, your lawyer will communicate by mail, phone, or email about the case in an effort to work out a settlement.
  3. Attend a settlement conference, which is a more formal forum for negotiations.
  4. Participate in mediation. In some places, mediation is required, but it is almost always a good idea to work out your differences outside of court and this could be your final opportunity to do so.

Getting Ready for the Mediation Process

Take some time to review your case file before the mediation begins and discuss with your lawyer how to approach the process. Look to your lawyer for guidance but be prepared to answer questions about your case when the time comes. The most important point to keep in mind is the need to explain the scope of how your entire life has been negatively impacted by the work-related injury.

What Happens During Mediation?

Mediation sessions are commonly guided by a neutral party that has in-depth knowledge of workers' compensation law. The issues are discussed in a casual manner with the goal of bringing about a compromise. While this process varies, the mediator may meet with each party separately and identify the issues. Along with your lawyer, the mediator will examine your case and advise you on its strengths and weaknesses. Armed with this information, the mediator will ask you for a revised settlement request. The same thing takes place on both sides and a meeting follows where each side presents their offers. This process is repeated until the parties agree on a settlement. If an agreement is forged, it becomes official and the process is at an end. Speak to a workers' compensation attorney to learn more.


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