Worker’s Comp Mediation May Be Right for You

Workers comp mediation may be a way to resolve your claim and prevent additional resources from going into your case. Nearly all worker’s comp claims settle, and very few resolve through litigation. You may seem very far apart from the other party involved in your case, but chances are good that, as the process continues, it will settle. Mediation may be a way to speed up the settlement process, which benefits both sides.

The skilled worker’s compensation attorneys at Coriden & Coriden, LLC have extensive experience representing employees hurt on the job, as well as employers and insurance companies. Because of our experience on both sides of worker’s comp, we understand the issues both parties face. We represent clients at mediations and act as mediators in worker’s comp cases. We understand that both parties involved with a mediation are interested in getting medical care for the injured worker and in resolution of the case.

What is Mediation in a Worker’s Compensation Case?

A neutral third party helps those involved resolve their differences.

Everyone wants fair treatment, and no one wants to waste their time. Sensible worker’s’ comp parties would rather negotiate a settlement than spend their time, money, and energy in litigation.

Worker’s compensation mediation is a way to speed up the settlement process through the help of a neutral third party (the mediator) involved in a confidential negotiation process. The mediator supervises, facilitates, and encourages negotiation. Neither settlement nor mediation is required, but you’ll probably find they’re in your best interests.

Why is Worker’s Compensation Mediation a Good Idea?

Chances are excellent your case will settle. Why not do so sooner rather than later?

You probably tried to negotiate a settlement but only got so far. Though both sides see the claim differently, they’re both acting in good faith and appreciate the value of avoiding further litigation. A mediator can help move negotiations forward despite a slow start.

There may be a lack of trust and some anger in how the claim was made or about the positions of an employer or insurance company. Though conference rooms where mediation takes place are not a courtroom, they allow the claimant something like a day in court. They get to speak their mind by talking freely and fully. The claimant feels heard, and venting can deflate some of the frustration.

Each side hears the opposing attorney’s point of view and critiques of the claims or their defenses. The parties should have heard an honest assessment from their attorneys, but it can have a stronger impact when it comes from the other party’s lawyer. The mediator may also give their views of the claims and their value. This can be a wake-up call for a party too wrapped up in their own position.

The parties give up control of the outcome when the claims go to a hearing. Negotiation and mediation are not all-or-nothing, win-or-lose propositions. Mediation is a way to manage risks and control possible losses. The stress of risking losing a case is prevented.

Time is money for both sides. Instead of a case dragging on for months or possibly years, a conclusion can be reached after a day or so of mediation. Mediation avoids the strain of the years of litigation. One of the biggest benefits of successful worker’s comp mediation is it allows both sides to put this behind them and move on.

What Should I Expect from a Worker’s Comp Mediator?

Mediation usually involves a facilitative or evaluative approach by the mediator.

  • Facilitative: The mediator facilitates negotiation by communicating information between the parties and pointing out issues worth considering. They don’t introduce their ideas on a case’s value or what a party should do.
  • Evaluative: The mediator evaluates the case and comes come up with a dollar range that they think the case is worth.

If the parties can’t reach an agreement with a facilitative approach, the mediator may switch gears and make a suggestion on fair settlement value to try to move the parties to a conclusion.

Is Worker’s Comp Mediation in Indiana Confidential?

Settlement negotiations are confidential to encourage discussions.

Before starting, the parties will agree to ground rules for the mediation, including confidentiality for what’s discussed. Statements made during and documents prepared for mediation are confidential and inadmissible when litigating the case. Negotiations are not discoverable and are inadmissible. This allows both sides to speak freely and honestly. But you can’t prevent evidence that’s otherwise admissible from being used in litigation by presenting or discussing it during mediation.

After meeting together and discussing the case, the parties will be separated. The mediator will go back and forth between the parties. Each side needs to make clear whether what is said to the mediator can or cannot be shared with the opposing party.

Common Questions about Worker’s Compensation Mediation

Our attorneys hear a range of frequently asked questions over the years. Here are some that may answer some you have, too.

Who Offers Mediation Services?

Mediation is available through the Worker’s Compensation Board of Indiana (WCB). You can learn more about it here. However, you can count on the extensive experience of our attorneys at  Coriden & Coriden, LLC. We have a long history of mediating worker’s comp cases successfully, and attorney Terry Coriden sat on the state WCB for 12 years.

Who Pays for Indiana Worker’s Compensation Mediation?

The parties usually split the cost of mediation. A claimant may condition that payment on successful mediation.

Where are Cases Mediated?

We mediate worker’s comp claims at our office or meet at the offices of attorneys representing a party or an insurance company. What’s most important is that the location is big enough to accommodate everyone and is in a convenient location. Mediation sessions are more effective in person but can be done remotely if that’s what the parties want.

Who Picks the Mediator?

Both sides must agree on who will do the job. Often the attorneys will circulate a list of acceptable candidates and narrow them down.

How Long Do Mediation Sessions Last?

You should expect three to five hours, though each case is unique.

After Mediation, What’s the Next Step?

If the parties reach an agreement, the mediator confirms that to be the case and makes sure both sides understand what they agreed upon. It’s normally up to the attorneys to later work out the language of an agreement, or that can be discussed at the mediation.

If the case doesn’t settle, another in-person session may be scheduled. The attorneys typically continue to try to reach an agreement between themselves, though a mediator may make themselves available to facilitate negotiations over the phone.

Our Team of Attorneys Has Mediation Experience You Can Rely On

No matter which side of a workers’ comp claim you’re on, Coriden & Coriden, LLC can represent your interests during mediation and negotiate a fair settlement that protects your interests. We also act as mediators so that parties can bring a claim to an end as quickly as possible.

Attorney Terry Coriden has focused on workers’ compensation law during his career, serving as a Workers’ Compensation Judge, adjudicating cases for 32 years, and on the Workers’ Compensation Board for 12. This experience is one reason why his mediations result in a successful conclusion 95% of the time.

Terry Coriden understands the difficulties caused by the injuries our clients suffer. He is direct and honest when he counsels clients about what to expect from their employer and their employer’s insurance company that will pay the workers’ comp claims. He also knows that employers and insurers want to finalize a case as soon as possible, with the least amount of expense and cost. Both parties want to obtain the best medical care for the injured worker; and through skilled mediation, both parties can find a favorable resolution, including reaching maximum medical improvement benefits.

If you have questions about mediation and how our attorneys may help you, call us at 812-375-9800 today.

Attorney Tim Coriden

Attorney Tim Coriden is a Partner with Coriden & Coriden, LLC and concentrates his practice in the areas of Worker’s Compensation and Civil Litigation. Tim represents clients from Indiana and other states, advocating on their behalf in disputed claims and threatened or pending litigation. Mr. Coriden has successfully served as counsel in dozens of jury trials and administrative hearings throughout Indiana. Tim routinely advises both clients and attorneys alike on the rights and remedies bestowed upon injured workers within the Indiana Worker’s Compensation Act. [ Attorney Bio ]