What Should I Expect at Mediation?
Often times, rather than going to court a case will go to mediation instead. So first of all, what is mediation? Basically instead of having a trial, the two parties (in this case, probably you and the insurance company’s team) will meet with a neutral third person to try to resolve a claim before a hearing. It gives you and the insurance company a chance to work out your own deal to close a case.
How is this different than court? For one, no one can make you or the other side settle your claim. You only form an agreement if you both actually agree to the final terms. Additionally, you won’t be sworn in or questioned. Of course, you have the right to speak, but it’s not a requirement. But don’t worry, your attorney will give you more details about speaking before the mediation.
Who is the mediator and what do they do? The mediator is the person who comes in as the neutral third party — they’re not on your side, and they’re not on the insurer’s side. They’re just there to help you come to an agreement. They will most likely talk with you about the tough parts of your case. But don’t feel singled out! They’ll also be asking the other party questions as well. They will act as a go-between between you and the other side. This will help get each side’s points and arguments across. If you are able to come to an agreement, the mediator will write it up and everyone will sign it. At this point, your case will be resolved.
Mediation is a common practice in workers’ comp law. In fact, our courts order that each case at least attempt to come to an agreement through mediation before going to trial — which is good for you because mediation generally saves a lot of time and money. Moreover, both parties are able to feel like they contributed to the outcome and generally walk away satisfied. Don’t worry, though, if your mediation is unsuccessful. This just means that your case will move onto court, where a Judge will make a final decision.
What is mediation and how does it work? Talk with your attorney about any questions you have and listen to their advice on expectations for the process.
Case Spotlight: Fall in the Parking Lot
If you have a non-traditional workers’ compensation case, you might be concerned that we won’t represent you. The reality of the situation is that we deal with non-traditional cases all the time.
I’m currently helping a client who works for a staffing agency. She took a position at a large corporation. While on her way into work one morning, she tripped and fell in the parking lot. As a result, she sustained significant damage to her knee and eye.
Despite her injuries, her workers’ compensation claim has been denied. Even though she was on the property of her place of work, they turned her down because the parking lot where she fell was not owned by the staffing agency, but by the company where she had been working. Her employer was the staffing agency, not the company.
Despite this, we are working with her in order to get her fair compensation. It doesn’t matter if you think your case is complicated or unusual. At Oxner + Permar, we’re passionate about defending our clients.
If you’ve been injured at work and are unsure if we’ll cover your case, give us a call! At Oxner + Permar we offer a free consultation.
Can I Use Social Media During My Workers’ Comp Case?
In this day and age, we share everything online. Social media makes it so easy to connect with friends and family. Whether it’s birthday wishes or photos with friends, there are all sorts of ways to share our thoughts and feelings and keep in touch. For the most part, sharing things on social media is pretty harmless. However, this is not always the case when you’re in the middle of a workers’ compensation case.
What you might not consider is the fact that defense lawyers and insurance carriers may try to look you up on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media accounts you might have. They will look for evidence that you’re not really as injured as you claim to be. This evidence could be something as simple as a photograph of you out with your friends, especially if you’re doing something physical like dancing or swimming.
The best policy is to simply deactivate your Facebook (or other social media) account until after your trial. At the very least you should set your social media settings to private. Don’t post pictures of things that could be incriminating. For instance, if you post vacation pictures of yourself lying out on a beach when you’re supposed to be recovering, the defense will most likely call this into question.
It can be hard to break the social media habit, but I promise things will be better if you take the plunge and deactivate your social media accounts until after your case has ended. Definitely better safe than sorry!
Don’t let something as simple as social media get you in trouble! If you’ve been injured at work, let an experienced attorney guide you through your case.
What If I Have No Memory of My Injury?
One of the most important pieces of advice we give to anyone involved in a workers’ compensation case is to make sure you file a report of the accident. It’s important to be as detailed as possible in order to support your workers’ compensation claim. However, what happens if you are unable to recall your injury? Is your workman’s comp case doomed for failure?
Of course, this is something that does happen, so it’s been addressed in court. If a worker falls and experiences a head injury, they might not be able to remember the exact circumstances of where, when or how they fell. This can make it difficult to prove whether or not their fall is can be compensated by workers’ compensation.
However, the courts in North Carolina have ruled that if an injured worker has an unexplained fall, then this is can be compensated by workers’ comp injury. If a worker does not remember the circumstances of their fall, they must be examined by a doctor. If the physician cannot find an explanation as to why they fell, then the employee’s injury would fall under the Unexplained Fall Law of Philbeck v. University of Michigan.
If you’ve experienced a fall at work, you deserve to have someone on your side who knows the law and can protect your rights. With more than $275 million in awards and settlements, Oxner + Permar has the experience to stand up for you.
Help! The Insurance Carrier Isn’t Paying Me the Correct Amount!
When you’ve been injured at work, workers’ compensation is a vital part of your recovery process. You’re reliant on that money to pay for everything from food to bills to medical expenses. It’s important that the amount in your check is correct. Your weekly checks should be for 66.66% of your pay the year before your injury.
There are several reasons the amount might be incorrect. For instance, it’s possible that the insurance carrier just didn’t calculate your income correctly. In some cases we have seen, the insurance carrier has not accounted for overtime pay, bonuses, or other pay that falls outside of your normal work hours.
It should be fairly easy to clear up any mistakes by reviewing your pay records. Here are some things you should make sure you include in the calculation of your income:
- Overtime pay
- Additional allowances such as a company vehicle or travel stipends
- Any pay that falls outside of your normal work hours
If the carrier still refuses to agree to raise your pay to meet your income after reviewing your records, an attorney can help you ask for a hearing or file a motion to clear up the underpayment. Every little bit counts when you’re out of work due to an injury. Make sure you’re receiving the compensation that’s owed to you.
Hiring an attorney can help clear up any discrepancies in pay. If you’ve been injured at work, be sure to contact an attorney at Oxner + Permar. With more than $275 million in awards and settlements, we have the experience to get you the benefits you deserve.