Considering workers’ compensation mediation in Atlanta? Mediation is a good option when both parties involved in a workers’ compensation claim cannot agree on the terms of the settlement. An unbiased mediator (usually an attorney) attends the meeting and fosters open communication between the parties. “Mediation is a forward-looking process in that it encourages the participants to focus on their current and future needs and interests, rather than focusing on fault and blame for past actions,” explains the State Board of Workers’ Compensation (SBWC).
What to Expect during Mediation
Mediation is very different from a hearing in that:
- no evidence is presented;
- no witnesses are called to testify; and
- most important, no judge will issue a ruling.
Rather, the mediation is presided over by a mediator with a great deal of experience in workers’ compensation law. The mediator can give his or her opinion to both sides as to the strengths and weaknesses of their respective cases, but the mediator cannot decide the settlement value of the case. The mediator’s job is simply to help persuade both parties to compromise and reach a compromise that’s acceptable to both the employer/insurer and the worker.
If you and your attorney decide to go the mediation route, your attorney will advocate for you and offer you advice during the meeting. Usually by the end of the mediation, both sides have made clear what they will need from the other side in order to settle the case. While not every case settles at a mediation, the time spent isn’t lost. Even your case doesn’t settle on the day of the meeting, you usually will walk away from the experience with the best offer the insurance company is willing to make at that point in the case. And in some cases, the insurance company will offer more after they have had time to reevaluate the case after the mediation.
Requesting a Mediation
If you and your employer are unable to reach terms initially and you’d like to try compromise, you can request a settlement mediation by filing Form WC-100/Request for Settlement Mediation with the State Board of Workers’ Compensation. Both parties will have to sign it. This form lets the State Board know that all parties are ready to engage in settlement negotiations.
Getting Top-Notch Counsel for Your Workers’ Comp Case in Atlanta
If you are having issues settling your claim, it’s a good idea to have an attorney represent you and help you through the process. Having a lawyer on your side exponentially increases the likelihood of being compensated fairly. For a free consultation with a workers’ comp attorney in Atlanta, contact Bader Law Firm, LLC, today at 678-562-5595.