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What To Expect at Your Workers’ Comp Mediation

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Posted By DAM Firm | April 11 2024 | Workers' Compensation

After sustaining a workplace injury or illness in San Bernardino, you should rightfully expect to receive workers’ compensation benefits to help with your medical costs and any lost wages you incur. Unfortunately, there are times when disputes arise between the injured worker and the employer or the insurance carrier. In these scenarios, it may be necessary for the various parties to engage in the mediation process.

What To Expect at Your Workers' Comp Mediation

What is a Workers’ Compensation Mediation?

Workers’ compensation mediation is a structured negotiation process designed to help resolve disputes between an injured employee, their employer, and the employer’s insurance carrier regarding a workers’ comp claim. This process is voluntary and involves a neutral third party, known as a mediator, who assists all parties in reaching a mutually agreeable settlement. 

The goal of mediation is to find a resolution that compensates the injured worker while avoiding the time, expense, and uncertainty of a formal workers’ comp hearing or trial. Unlike a court proceeding, mediation offers a more informal setting where the parties can discuss in an open forum their concerns and expectations under the guidance of the mediator.

Who Conducts the Mediation Session?

The session is conducted by a skilled mediator, who is typically an experienced attorney with extensive knowledge of workers’ compensation law or a retired judge. In San Bernardino and throughout California, mediators are selected based on their impartiality and expertise in workers’ comp disputes. 

The mediator’s role is not to make decisions or force a settlement but to facilitate dialogue, help clarify the issues at hand, and guide the parties toward a mutually satisfactory agreement. Their expertise allows them to offer insights into the strengths and weaknesses of each party’s position and suggest possible solutions that still need to be considered.

Preparing for Your Workers’ Comp Mediation in California

Preparation is key to a successful workers’ comp mediation in California. Here are several steps to help you get ready:

  • Review your claim. Understand the details of your case, including the nature of your injury, the treatments you’ve received, and how your injury has impacted your ability to work. Be clear on what you believe is fair compensation for your losses.
  • Gather documentation. Bring all relevant documents to your mediation session. This includes medical records, reports from your doctor, proof of lost income, and any correspondence with your employer or their insurance company regarding your claim.
  • Know your minimum settlement. Before the mediation, think about the lowest settlement amount you are willing to accept. This will help you negotiate more effectively.
  • Consider non-monetary needs. Sometimes, resolutions can include non-monetary elements, such as additional medical treatments or vocational rehabilitation. Consider what non-monetary terms might be acceptable to you as part of a settlement.
  • Be ready to compromise. Mediation is about finding a middle ground. While you should know what you want, also be prepared to make concessions.
  • Practice clear communication. Be prepared to clearly articulate your points during the mediation. It might be helpful to practice summarizing your case and your settlement expectations concisely.

Going through a workers’ comp mediation in San Bernardino can be a constructive way to resolve your dispute and reach a settlement that addresses your needs. With the right preparation and a clear understanding of the mediation process, you can navigate your session with confidence and increase your chances of a good outcome. A work injury lawyer can help you understand the ins and outs of this mediation process so you can move forward.