What Should You Expect at Your Workers’ Compensation Mediation?
Not all workers’ compensation cases are settled amicably. Often, employers or their insurance companies deny or dispute injured employees’ workers’ comp claims. When this happens, there are two common ways to resolve a dispute: going to court or attending mediation sessions.
What is Workers’ Compensation Mediation?
Workers’ compensation mediation can help parties reach a consensus with the help of a neutral, third-party mediator. A mediator can help the injured worker and their employer’s insurance company to agree on the appropriate amount to compensate the worker for their work-related injury or illness.
Unlike litigation, workers’ compensation mediation helps parties finalize their case faster, at a lower cost, and in a private manner. By contrast, resolving your case in court can be a time-consuming and costly process, not to mention that your case will become public records.
What to Expect at Your Workers’ Comp Mediation Sessions
Workers’ compensation mediation sessions are conducted in the presence of all relevant parties, including the mediator who facilitates the process. Typically, the following parties attend mediation hearings:
- The injured worker;
- The neutral mediator;
- The injured worker’s attorney;
- The injured worker’s employer or their representatives;
- The employer’s insurance adjuster;
- The attorney working for the workers’ compensation insurance company; and
- People who attend sessions for moral support (family members).
The parties are split into several rooms. The injured worker and their attorney will be in one room, while the employer and their insurance company will be in the other. The mediator goes back and forth between the two rooms to facilitate the negotiation. The mediator can also present legal arguments and provide their opinion about the workers’ comp case.
What Do You Need to Prepare for Your Workers’ Compensation Mediation Session?
Typically, your attorney will help you gather the documents that need to be prepared for your workers’ compensation mediation sessions. When preparing for your workers’ comp mediation, you need to collect the following documents:
- Copies of your medical records
- Accident report
- Correspondence and letters between you and the insurance adjuster
- Medical bills and receipts related to your work-related injury or illness
- All other documents and paperwork related to your injury
Typically, a consultation with a knowledgeable attorney is the most productive and useful thing you can do to prepare for your mediation hearing. Before the mediation session, your workers’ compensation attorney will review your particular case to determine the most appropriate strategy to help you reach a favorable outcome.
What Happens After Workers’ Compensation Mediation?
At workers’ compensation mediation, you will either resolve your dispute with your employer’s insurance company or not. If mediation hearings did not help you find a middle ground, you might have no choice but to litigate your case. However, it may still be possible to settle your workers’ comp case even if your case proceeds to trial.
After you and the insurance company reached a settlement agreement regarding your workers’ compensation benefits, you will need to finalize the paperwork and comply with the terms of the settlement.