A mediation, or a mediated settlement conference, is an informal meeting, usually in our office, where a neutral person (the mediator) hears our side of the story, your employers’ side of the story, and attempts to work out a compromise that everyone can live with. If your claim is denied, the Industrial Commission will likely order your case into mediation before it goes to a hearing. If your claim has gone on for a while the Commission may do the same thing to see if it can be wrapped up.
The important thing to know is that while participation is required if the Industrial Commission orders it any agreement is voluntary. That means that no one can MAKE you do anything at a mediation other than be there. If you do reach an agreement at the mediation, it will be written up and both sides will be asked to sign it. Once that happens there is no backing out.
Mediations sound scary but they aren’t. We’ve done thousands of them and will guide you through it with as few jitters as possible.
The other thing to remember about a mediation is that it isn’t necessarily about settling your case. Yes, that often happens. And it may be what the adjuster wants to see happen. But a lot of the time you and your case aren’t really ready for a settlement. So the agreements we reach are steps in that direction: change of physicians, surgery approved, raising your weekly checks, etc. With that in place and another few months’ time maybe things will be better set for a settlement at fair value.