Injured workers may have to go through mediation to get Workers’ Compensation benefits in Pennsylvania. During mediation, you will attempt to resolve the matter of benefits to avoid going to before a judge.
Mediation for Workers’ Compensation claims in Pennsylvania is a process that facilitates discussions between a claimant and an insurance company in the hopes that the claim can be settled without going to court. Preparation for mediation includes gathering proof of injuries and other damages, such as lost wages. If mediation fails, your case might go before a judge in Pennsylvania. Mediation is typically more successful when victims are able to provide ample evidence of their damages and prove that they sustained their injuries at work.
For a free case review with our Philadelphia Workers’ Compensation lawyers, call Lerner, Steinberg & Associates today at (215) 355-6400.
Mediation for Workers’ Comp Cases in Pennsylvania
Mediation for Workers’ Compensation can help injured workers settle a claim and prevent the need for trial in Pennsylvania. In some cases, mediation is mandatory, and in others, it is voluntary.
For some Workers’ Compensation claims, mediation can be helpful. This process involves a Workers’ Compensation insurance carrier, an injured worker, and a third-party mediator. Our Berks County Workers’ Compensation lawyers will help you through mediation to try and reach an agreement for benefits without having to go before a judge. Depending on the case, mediation may take a matter of weeks or months in Pennsylvania.
Mediation is often mandatory when a petition is filed with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry Office of Adjudication. There may be an exception in cases where a judge determines mediation will be unsuccessful. Either an injured worker or an insurance claim might file a petition with the Office of Adjudication.
Even if your claim is unlikely to go to court, you can request voluntary mediation for Workers’ Compensation in Pennsylvania. Some injured workers might choose to do this to speed up the claims process, especially if access to benefits is uncertain.
How to Prepare for Workers’ Comp Mediation in Pennsylvania
Preparation for Workers’ Compensation mediation is important. Workers can prepare by gathering the necessary information about their injuries, lost wages, and other damages.
Upon entering mediation, having the proper documentation of your injuries is important. Often, Workers’ Compensation claims are delayed and require mediation when an insurance company is unclear about the extent of a worker’s injuries or that an accident happened while a worker was performing activities within the scope of their employment.
To make mediation run smoothly, gather your medical records. This includes records of injuries confirmed by a medical professional approved by your employer’s Workers’ Compensation carrier. If there is additional proof that you were injured at work, such as surveillance footage or witness statements, compile that information as well.
It is also necessary to know your responsibilities during the mediation process, such as showing up to meeting times. Injured workers should be careful about what they say during mediation and defer to our attorneys for most of the process. Saying the wrong thing might give your employer’s insurance company room to contest your claim further.
Preparation for Workers’ Compensation mediation also entails calculating your damages. Workers’ Compensation should cover financial losses, such as medical bills and lost wages. You can estimate these damages beforehand to know if an offer you receive during mediation is acceptable.
What Happens After Mediation for Workers’ Comp in Pennsylvania?
If mediation is unsuccessful and your employer’s Workers’ Compensation carrier refuses to pay appropriate damages, you may have to court in Pennsylvania.
Judges that are assigned Workers’ Compensation cases may require a second mediation, even if the first attempt to resolve a case was unsuccessful. However, in some instances, a judge might decide, based on the outcome of an initial mediation, that going to trial immediately is the best route to take.
During this time, you will present similar evidence of your injuries and their cause as you did during mediation with your employer’s Workers’ Compensation carrier. This includes proof of your medical records, bills, and lost wages. To recover Workers’ Compensation benefits in Pennsylvania, you must have sustained your injuries while performing work-related duties.
Many Workers’ Compensation cases in Pennsylvania do not go to court, especially if an insurance company is concerned that a judge will award an injured worker more than an insurance provider is prepared to provide. If mediation is successful, you will reach an agreement for damages and recover them.
How Can You Make Workers’ Comp Mediation Successful in Pennsylvania?
Workers’ Compensation mediation is most successful when injured workers properly prepare and understand the process. In some cases, mediation will be unsuccessful simply because an insurance company is unwilling to settle.
Typically, insurance companies do not want to pay claimants the money they deserve. Because of this, some Workers’ Compensation carriers might attempt to undermine or sabotage mediation, hoping that an injured worker will settle for less than they deserve.
You can make mediation successful by understanding your rights and asserting them. If you were injured at work in Pennsylvania, you have the right to benefits and damages from your employer’s Workers’ Compensation insurance carrier. Injured workers can also improve their chances of successful mediation by compiling proof of their injuries and their cause.
Even when making your best efforts to succeed in mediation, you might fail. This is not necessarily because of a lack of preparation or proof but because a carrier does not wish to settle. Building a strong case can allow you to recover damages in court, even if mediation does not result in a settlement. Successful mediation is not marked by resolution necessarily; learning information about an insurance company’s practices during mediation can strengthen your case if you ultimately have to go before a judge.
Call Our Lawyers About Your Pennsylvania Workers’ Comp Claim Today
For a free case evaluation with Lerner, Steinberg & Associates, call our Montgomery Workers’ Compensation lawyers today at (215) 355-6400.