ADR, also known as Mediation, is an alternative to full litigation. Both the worker and the employer agree to work with a mediator to try to resolve their dispute. Mediation is not required. It is a voluntary process. It is confidential – it does not take place in an open forum. In Virginia, it is not binding until there is an approved and signed agreement. The Order Approving the Settlement must become final, meaning 30 days must pass after entry of the Order. Only then is the settlement truly finalized and enforceable.
The Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission has 19 certified members who work in the 6 geographical areas for Virginia. Until an agreement is reached, both sides can request a hearing. The mediator is supposed to be neutral. The mediator will try to identify the key issues such as whether an accident happened, whether the worker is an employee, what type of disability the worker has, what are the prospective lost wages, what are the likely medical bills and many other issues.
Because there are so many issues involved and because an agreement can become binding, it is critical that any worker contemplating mediation use an experienced Virginia Workers’ Compensation attorney. Also, in some instances, agreement to mediation can be used by the other side as a tool to delay. They may have no intention of resolving the claim or agreeing to anything.
According to the Commission all workers and all employers who go through mediation with the goal of attempting to settle the worker’s case MUST use legal counsel. This is for your protection.
The key for the injured worker is to use someone with broad experience who knows the pitfalls of mediation, who will make sure all legal and medical issues are fully considered and who will anticipate the arguments employers and insurance companies make.
According to the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission, these are the issues most often mediated:
- Medical treatment
- Medical bills
- Average weekly wage
- Temporary Partial rates
- Closed periods of Temporary Total Disability Benefits
- Return to work
- Cost of Living Allowance
Call Injured Worker’s Lawyer Joe Miller Before Accepting Mediation of Your Virginia Compensation Claim
Joe Miller has helped thousands of Virginia injured employees. He knows how to process your claim, work with insurance companies, respond to company lawyers and try your case in court. Call attorney Joe Miller at 888-694-1671 and ask for me, Joe Miller, or email me at email@example.com.