Mediation in Workers’ Compensation
There are many possible outcomes of workers’ compensation claims. Sometimes it is a simple process in which an employee files a claim and they are given benefits. In some cases, employers seek to dispute the claim filed by a worker. Each case is different and highly dependent on the nature of the injuries and the inclination of the employer.
Some Indiana workers’ compensation disputes are resolved in a process called mediation. The goal of mediation is to reach a settlement between the employer and the injured worker. It is best to have a workers’ compensation attorney who is familiar with Indiana law to represent you in mediation.
At Coriden Glover, our experience with these negotiations is an asset to our clients. We can prepare you for mediation and tell you what to expect from the process.
What Happens in Mediation?
Both sides in workers’ compensation mediation work through a neutral party, called a mediator, to negotiate terms of the agreement. After making their arguments before the mediator, the two sides are separated and the mediator will go back and forth until an agreement is reached. Your attorney will speak on your behalf, but you are free to speak to the mediator if you choose to do so. Mediation doesn’t always end in an agreement, but it can result in a settlement that is satisfactory to either party, especially if their attorney is experienced in mediation.
The experience and skill of your attorney is very important in the negotiating process. While each mediation process is different, many common themes emerge in workers’ compensation mediation, which an experienced attorney will be able to recognize and use to your advantage.
What If There is No Agreement?
It is not unusual for mediation to end without a resolution. In many cases, it is preferable to proceed to a trial if an employer does not meet the terms set forth by the parties involved. In these cases, the mediation itself will serve as an opportunity for an attorney to become familiar with objectives and terms of the other party. This knowledge will be very helpful in the next stage of a dispute.
Tips for Clients in Mediation
Your attorney will be invaluable in the mediation process. They can advise you on virtually all aspects of the meeting, including what you can expect to hear or the definitions of certain commonly used terms. Here are a few things that you can do to make sure you are ready for mediation:
- Ask your attorney if there is anything you should expect to do in the mediation. Your attorney will generally handle the interactions on your behalf, but if you have any worries about what is required of you prior to the mediation, don’t hesitate to ask.
- Be on time for your mediation. You and your attorney can arrange a place and time to meet so that you will be at the mediation before it starts.
- Dress appropriately for the meeting. While you don’t have to dress formally, it is often in your best interest to appear professional and be relatively well-groomed. The other side’s attorneys might be less likely to take the chance of putting you before a jury if you present yourself well.
- Feel free to ask your attorney questions during mediation. The process can seem a little daunting and the language used in mediation can be steeped in legal jargon. Your attorney will be happy to help you understand anything that seems confusing.
The attorneys at Coriden Glover have experience in all stages of the process, including mediation. We will work with you to put you at ease and be a dedicated advocate for your cause. It is our job to fight for your best interests. Contact us today to learn how we can help you.