For many workers in Georgia, dealing with a work-related injury can involve a complex workers’ compensation claims process. But there is an alternative dispute resolution option available that aims to settle such cases in a less costly manner – mediation.
Mediation provides a voluntary process where a neutral third party, the mediator, facilitates discussion between the affected worker and insurer. The goal is to have all parties communicate openly to try and reach an agreed settlement.
For those with a pending Georgia workers’ compensation claim, mediation could offer a stress-reducing alternative to drawn-out litigation. This problem-solving approach may help benefit a particular situation. Learn more about the process and how an Atlanta worker’s comp lawyer can help you.
What Is the Purpose of Mediation?
By bringing everyone together in a non-threatening environment, mediation seeks to solve workers’ comp disputes in a timely, cost-effective way. It allows both viewpoints to be considered as the mediator guides the discussion.
This takes place in a private, informal meeting. If the worker and insurer do come to an accord, any necessary paperwork can be completed right away to finalize the case.
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How Mediation Works in a Workers Compensation Claim
Either party to a Georgia work injury claim can request mediation at any point in the dispute process. A neutral mediator who is trained in mediation techniques but has no stake in the outcome is selected to oversee the process. The mediator’s role is to facilitate discussion between the parties, not advocate for any side or make a decision.
- Their goal is simply to help the parties find their own agreement. Privacy is maintained to allow open discussion without prejudice. The “without prejudice” nature encourages transparency.
- The worker, employer/insurer representatives, and their attorneys (if present) attend a mediation session together.
- Each side presents their view of the claim issues, and the mediator helps identify areas of agreement and disagreement.
- Through questioning and reality-checking, the mediator aims to bridge any gaps and have the parties compromise.
- If consensus is reached, the mediator drafts a written settlement agreement for all to sign, resolving the disputed matters.
- If no deal is struck, the claim continues through the regular dispute process.
What Are Some Common Disagreements in Workers Comp Claims in Georgia?
Here are some common areas of disagreement in workers’ compensation claims that may be discussed and potentially resolved through mediation:
- Compensation: The amount of compensation offered may not cover the entirety of your losses. Disputes may also question whether the injury or illness is truly work-related and covered by workers’ compensation.
- Nature and extent of the injury: Disagreement on the proper medical diagnosis or whether a pre-existing condition is contributing. Employers may dispute the cause of your injury was directly related to your work.
- Disability status: The degree to which the injury prevents the worker from performing their regular or other suitable job duties. This impacts benefits.
- Medical treatment: Disputes may arise around authorization for specific surgeons, therapies, or extended care required for recovery.
- Temporary disability benefits: Calculating lost wage replacement during time off work is sometimes contentious.
- Permanent disability rating: Assessing long-term physical impairment and how it factors into benefits awarded.
- Liability for future medical care: Whether the employer/insurer will continue paying for treatment over the employee’s lifetime.
- Legal arguments: Interpretation of ambiguous areas of the workers’ compensation statute could require legal resolution.
Getting all parties in the room to mediate allows compromise on these types of substantive claim issues through discussion.
How Can a Workers Compensation Lawyer Help Me?
Here are some of the key ways a workers’ compensation lawyer in Georgia can help with mediation in a claim:
- We understand the nuances of Georgia’s workers’ comp laws and how to maximize the value of a claim within that legal framework.
- Our legal team will thoroughly review the details of your accident, injuries, medical records, and lost wages to fully evaluate the merits and potential settlement value.
- Workman’s comp attorneys in Georgia are well-versed in the strategies that are necessary for mediation preparation, such as gathering corroborating documents and evaluating medical records.
- Our attorneys are skilled at mediation advocacy, persuasively presenting your claim while also realistically assessing counterarguments.
- If an impasse occurs, we know how to pursue alternative dispute resolution or litigation if needed to achieve a resolution.
Our goal is to relieve stress and navigate complexity so you can focus on recovery instead of legalities. We work to help ensure you receive appropriate coverage to suit your individual circumstances.
Contact a Worker’s Compensation Law Firm In Georgia for a Free Consultation
Whether settling a case through mediation or pursuing other legal options, the attorneys at John Foy & Associates Personal Injury Law are dedicated to achieving the best possible outcome for you. We understand that navigating a work injury claim can be challenging. That’s where our extensive experience makes a difference.
With in-depth case evaluation, skillful negotiation, and a track record of successful results, we provide strong representation in mediation discussions. If an agreement can’t be reached, we’re prepared to explore further dispute resolution avenues.
At John Foy & Associates, you won’t just get attorneys, you’ll gain knowledgeable advisors focused solely on your needs. Contact us for a no-obligation review of your claim. Let our experience work for you and guide your next steps, whether that’s mediating a resolution or fighting for justice in court.