TRUST, CATHARSIS, COMPREHENSIVE RESOLUTION
Near the start of every mediation, once each side is in their own caucus room, I spend time talking directly with the injured worker. There are at least three reasons to do so.
1. I want to build trust in the mediation process.
The injured worker needs to feel part of and emotionally invested in the mediation process. The injured worker is probably unfamiliar with the mediation process and may be apprehensive. The parties may distrust each other. Empathy is one of the traits of a good mediator. I assure the injured worker that nothing will happen that the injured worker does not agree to. When the injured worker trusts the mediator and the mediation process to be fair, the likelihood of settlement increases.
I participated in many workers compensation mediations before I became a mediator. I never saw a mediator take the time to talk to the injured worker. Instead, I saw mediators create a barrier between themselves and the injured workers that made settlement more difficult. I work hard to make sure no communication barriers exist.