Workplace injuries are incredibly common in the United States, and many result in a workers’ compensation claim. When disputes arise regarding a claim, coming to a prompt and fair agreement is in the best interest of everyone involved. Mediation is an affordable and effective way to negotiate an agreement that lets you avoid the stress, time, and costs associated with going to court.
If you’re headed to mediation for your workers’ compensation claim, knowing what to expect can help you properly prepare. Learn more about your workers’ compensation options now by calling Thiry & Caddell at 251-478-8880.
How Mediation Works for Workers’ Compensation Claims
Mediation is an informal meeting that includes everyone involved in your claim. Parties in attendance may include you, your attorney, the attorney for the workers’ comp insurance, the workers’ comp insurance adjuster, and the mediator. Depending on the nature of the claim, your employer may also choose to send a representative.
Mediation begins with the mediator introducing themselves and getting the facts of the case from both parties. This may be done with the opposing parties in separate rooms or in the same room—it all depends on how contentious previous negotiations have been and what both parties prefer.
If the discussion occurs with both parties in separate rooms, you will tell the mediator what you want the other party to know or what you want to ask for. They will communicate your message to the other side and get their response, then bring their response back to you.
Remember that the mediator is a neutral third party. They are not on your side or the other party’s side. Their goal is to help both sides work toward an agreement by providing insight and suggestions. However, they are not miracle workers—if one or both sides are unwilling to negotiate, the mediator will not be able to force them to come to an agreement. It’s best to come to mediation willing to negotiate and compromise.
Know What You’re Going to Talk About
Prior to mediation, you’ll want to meet with your attorney to talk about what you’ll be discussing during mediation. You may want to have certain conversations with them kept private during mediation, so ask them if there is anything you should or shouldn’t say in front of the mediator.
Your attorney may review the facts of your case with you and go back over the evidence. You want to show the other side how your injuries have affected you and how they have kept you from earning a living.
What Happens After Mediation
The results of mediation depend largely on the willingness of both sides to compromise. If both sides come to an agreement, a formal settlement will be drawn up, signed, and filed. From there, you will receive your compensation. You may receive compensation for lost wages, medical expenses, money already paid to healthcare providers, and future income lost due to your injury. Depending on the nature of your agreement, you may receive your funds in installments or one lump sum.
Another option to consider is a partial settlement. This involves receiving a lump sum for your lost wages but still asking the insurance company to pay for your medical expenses. This is a viable option for employees whose injuries have not yet reached maximum medical improvement. Since you don’t yet know what your medical expenses will be, it may be unwise to settle for a fixed amount.
If your case is not settled in mediation, the next step is court. This is generally much more time-consuming and expensive for both parties, so keep that in mind while considering your options. Your attorney will advise you on your next steps and begin preparing for court.
Find Out How Thiry & Caddell Can Help
A workplace injury shouldn’t leave you unable to provide for your family. That’s why the workers’ compensation system exists. If you’ve been hurt at work, you deserve to have your rights protected. The team at Thiry & Caddell is here for you if your claim has been unfairly denied if your workplace is insisting that you are ready to come back to work before you truly are, or if their insurance company is paying far less than you should be receiving. Set up a consultation with us now by calling us at 251-478-8880 or .