Answer: In Virginia Workers Compensation cases, this is often accomplished through a process known as Mediation. We have found that mediation is a highly effective tool to assist the parties to try to resolve the case, and in most cases, particularly in cases involving an Open Award Order, it is probably your best chance to obtain a settlement in your case; however, there are often circumstances, particularly in contested cases, where we must first seek a hearing with the Commission to resolve a specific issue with respect to your case before we attempt any mediation. Otherwise, you may be heading into mediation from a position of weakness and uncertainty, although sometimes the equities weigh in favor of avoiding a hearing, particularly if you clearly have a strong case as you approach your hearing. This is because even if you win at a hearing, there are two appeals levels that the defense has available that can delay the process for over a year. That is never a good place to be. Of course, each case must be examined and decisions made based on the particular facts and circumstances of each matter.