What Is Workers’ Compensation Mediation and What You Should Expect From It?
Even if the law and the evidence are on your side, and you are working with a great work injury attorney, you may still go head to head with the insurance company and not reach a conclusion.
In workers’ comp claims, even if you are legally entitled to the benefits, it doesn’t mean you’ll have an easy time accessing them. The insurance company will often try to make sure of it. So what happens when neither party agrees to the terms on the table? You enter the mediation process.
What Is Workers’ Compensation Mediation?
Worker’s comp mediation is a process injured workers and the insurance company enter when there is a dispute regarding the claim they cannot solve on their own. When you cannot agree on something with the insurance company, you have the right to appeal their decision with the Missouri Division for Worker’s comp. The last stage here is to take your case before an administrative judge, but first, you may go through what’s called mediation.
Here, you, your legal representative, and a representative of your insurance company may meet in a conference room with a mediator (often a judge) and discuss your claim. Except, in the mediation process, the mediator does not decide the outcome, rather they will try to get both parties to compromise and meet a middle ground.
Each side will present their own case to the mediator, and the mediator may provide their expert opinion on the matter, but does not have the power to make any decision.
What Happens If Mediation Doesn’t Work?
Sometimes, neither side will budge, and the mediation process ends up going nowhere. The next logical step here is to take matters in front of an administrative judge, who will make a decision both parties must agree to.
This is the final solution in these situations, but in most cases, neither side wants to end up there because, in the end, you never know what the judge is going to rule. For both parties, it’s much more preferable to go back to the negotiations table where there’s at least a chance both can get what they want.
Do You Need a Lawyer?
Technically no, you are allowed to represent yourself both in the workers’ comp mediation and in front of the judge. However, this is generally not the best decision to make.
Worker’s compensation laws are more complex than they may seem, and there are a lot of grey areas. In some instances, the ruling of a judge may boil down to how well one side argues in their favor.
This is why you should consider speaking with an experienced St. Louis workers’ comp attorney for support and legal advice. They can represent your best interest and help fight for the full amount of compensation you are legally entitled to.
Call the Law Office of James M. Hoffmann 24/7 for a FREE case evaluation :: (314) 361–4300