Here we are in the fourth quarter of the year or as some call it, settlement season. Workers Compensation cases seem to drag on, but as year-end approaches, everyone in the system suddenly wants to get claims off the books. There is good reason.
Claimants on the road to settlement often want to complete a buy-out in time to get cash for the holiday season. Carriers have to report to state insurance departments how many claims are open at year-end. Self-insureds want to avoid funding a bond for another year.
If you haven’t previously mediated a Workers Compensation claim, you might feel a bit intimidated. You don’t have to commit to a settlement in advance of mediation. In fact, many mediations start with parties insisting the claim will not settle. Yet, the majority of those mediated claims do result in settlement.
Parties just need to agree to sit together with the mediator to discuss the issues. Once everyone is on board, a mediation can be scheduled quickly. Unlike a WCAB hearing, participants can take all the time they need.
When parties collaborate in mediation to define issues, they often find themselves resolving those issues. Minimally, everyone will be on a firmer basis to move forward.