Mediation is a mandatory process in North Carolina where unless the Parties object, an opportunity is provided to resolve the client’s claim. The Parties and their attorneys get together in an informal setting. A Mediator is someone who the Parties agree to use to help facilitate a settlement of the claim. The Mediator really does not decide anything. He or she is just there to help the Parties come together and try to resolve the claim.
There are some keys that clients should know about mediation in North Carolina worker’s compensation cases:
Play Poker. One main key that attorney Joe Miller advises clients is to “keep your cards close to your chest.” You may have a strong desire to resolve your claim in mediation; however, you should NEVER let the carrier, your employer or their attorneys know that.
A big part of mediation is negotiating. If the employer or insurance carrier knows what you are thinking, and what your bottom line is, then you won’t get the best offer for your case. If the employer or insurance carrier knows what you are thinking, then the employer will give you a lowball offer.
The employer or insurance carrier can learn your thinking in different ways:
- Your own verbal words can let the employer know that you are overly eager to settle
- Body language such as facial expressions can also show what you are really thinking.
Conduct, even in front of the Mediator. Employees should keep a “poker face” even when the employer or insurance carrier is out of the room because the mediator can still pick up on your body language and relay it to the employer/insurance carrier. The mediator is supposed to be neutral, but mediators are human, too. They want to settle cases because it enhances their reputation. If the mediator thinks he or she knows what you are thinking, he or she may indirectly signal that thought to the employer or insurance carrier.
Confidentiality has its limits. When the parties are separated into two different rooms, the mediator is supposed to keep your statements confidential if you ask him or her to do so. He or she can’t tell the employer or insurance carrier what you said without your permission.
But there is no prohibition against revealing your body language or facial expressions. If you give nonverbal clues such as smiling or laughing with glee upon hearing a new offer, the mediator can reveal those clues to the other side. Then they will probably stop making offers. Revealing nonverbal clues is up to the mediator.
North Carolina Injured Employee Lawyer Joe Miller Knows Mediation
Before you decide to mediate your worker’s compensation case, it’s crucial to hire an attorney. Mediations are really negotiations of your case. The employer and insurance carrier will have skilled professionals helping them. They will use every advantage they can to force a low settlement. Employees should use a good North Carolina worker’s compensation to advocate for them and make sure the settlement is fair. If you were injured at work, contact Attorney Joe Miller at 888-694-1671 or complete his online form