Mediation is a way of resolving conflict in a claim without going through the formal hearing process. The injured worker, insurance carrier, and their representatives can all sit down and discuss the facts of the case and what it might take to make both parties agreeable to an outcome.
It is a way for the workers compensation insurance company and the injured worker to try and reach an agreement about benefits or settlement without a Deputy Commissioner (workers’ compensation judge) determining the outcome.
The mediation process is generally considered more prompt, inexpensive, and procedurally simple than formal litigation. It allows the parties to focus on the underlying circumstances that contributed to the dispute, rather than on narrow legal issues. The mediation process does not focus on truth or fault. Questions of which party is right or wrong are generally less important than the issue of how the problem can be resolved.
Mediation can be a great thing for injured workers because it is overseen by an impartial 3rd party, is voluntary, and in most cases is faster than going to a hearing. If the parties cannot reach an amenable agreement, they still have the option to pursue their claim through the hearing process at the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission.
If you would like more information on the Virginia workers’ compensation system, order my book, “The Ultimate Guide to Workers’ Compensation in Virginia” by clicking this link, or call our office today (804) 755-7755.