In a workers’ compensation case, the plaintiff and the insurance company may engage in mediation in order to reach a settlement. In many states, mediation is required before the case can go to a hearing. A mediation is facilitated by a neutral party who may be a judge or an attorney with workers’ compensation experience. The role of the facilitator is not to advocate for either side, but to encourage both parties to reach an agreement.
Before attending the mediation, the plaintiff should prepare by rehearsing the details of the event that led to the claim and gathering evidence to support his or her case. The mediator will ask for the story and evidence, and it will be important for the plaintiff to communicate it clearly so that listeners can understand the details and the order of events. It is recommended that the plaintiff hires a Workers Compensation Attorney in St. Joseph MO who can answer questions and present evidence on the plaintiff’s behalf. This takes the pressure off the plaintiff and also places him or her on the same level as the insurance company, who will surely be represented by an attorney.
During the mediation, the mediator will first ask for both sides to present their evidence. This will happen while all parties are present. Next, the mediator will put each side in a different room and meet with each individually. During the private meeting, the mediator will ask questions and express his or her opinion about the strength of each party’s case. After one or more rounds of meetings, the plaintiff and his or her attorney will make a settlement offer that the mediator will then present to the insurance company. The insurance company will likely make a counteroffer.
If the two parties are successful in reaching an agreement, the attorneys will draft the specific terms of the settlement. If a settlement is not reached, however, the case will go on to a hearing before a workers’ compensation judge. To learn more about the mediation process and how an attorney can assist you, Schedule an appointment with a workers compensation attorney in St. Joseph MO.