Workers Compensation professionals have to know a lot: the California Labor Code, Title 8 regulations, state and federal rules governing health care entitlements. To make things even harder, the rules of this highly-governed road keep changing. Workers Compensation may be the most intricate, heavily regulated area of practice. These rules can constrain the parties’ ability to negotiate satisfactory settlements.
You only have to know one rule about mediation: everything that happens within the mediation, including pre-mediation and follow-up communication, is confidential. You don’t have to share your mediation brief with the other side if you don’t want to. In mediation, in contrast to WCAB practice or arbitration, you can get creative. You can break the rules.
Mediated agreements can include provisions a WCJ could never order, such as agreements relating to actions in other forums. You can settle claims which haven’t been made yet. Parties can use creative solutions like structured settlements and medical care trusts. The mediator can help you brainstorm.
As mediator, I help parties settle cases. There are no rulings in mediation, so no one loses. Go ahead, let’s break some rules– and settle the case.