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What Is A Settlement Mediation

Mediation is a process in which a neutral person known as a mediator tries to help the parties reach a settlement or resolve disputed issues.  Since the goal of mediation is to find a solution to whatever issues exist, the mediator will encourage the parties to focus on what would be in their best interest rather than on who is at fault for these issues.  Nothing is recorded at mediation, so if you are not able to reach a settlement or resolve any issues at mediation, it will essentially be like it never happened.

What Should I Bring To My Settlement Mediation

Unless you have been given special permission, you are required to personally appear at a Mediation or Settlement Mediation scheduled by the State Board of Workers’ Compensation.  You are allowed to bring any documents that you think are relevant to your case, and it is a good idea to bring any outstanding medical bills or mileage-reimbursement requests that you have; however, you are not actually required to bring any documents to a Mediation or Settlement Mediation.

When Will My Settlement Mediation Take Place

The State Board of Workers’ Compensation ordinarily schedules Settlement Mediations within thirty (30) days of receiving a request; however, some Settlement Mediations are scheduled more than thirty (30) days after a request is made if the calendar is already filled up.  The State Board can also schedule emergency mediations, but this is rare and is reserved only for true emergencies.

Where Will My Settlement Mediation Take Place

The State Board of Workers’ Compensation holds Mediations and Settlement Mediations in one of seventeen locations in the State of Georgia.  The exact location is determined by where an accident occurred or where the parties are located, but the State Board usually attempts to hold mediations in the most convenient location for all of the parties involved.

Who Will Attend My Settlement Mediation

In addition to the mediator, the following individuals ordinarily attend mediations in workers’ compensation cases:

  • Injured Worker
  • Injured Worker’s Attorney
  • Insurance Company Adjuster (and sometimes a representative from your employer)
  • Employer and Insurance Company’s Attorney

Who Will Be The Mediator At My Settlement Mediation

If your Mediation or Settlement Mediation is scheduled by the State Board of Workers’ Compensation, the mediator assigned to your case likely will be a staff attorney or an administrative law judge.  If an administrative law judge is a mediator, he or she will not be the same one who is assigned to be the judge if your case goes to a hearing.  Also, if an administrative law judge is a mediator, he or she will not act as a judge during the mediation, but will instead serve as an impartial mediator who will try to help the parties resolve the issues that the parties are attempting to resolve.

Am I Required To Settle My Case At A Settlement Mediation

No.  Neither you nor your employer or its insurance company are required to settle your case at a Settlement Mediation.  The only requirement is that you and the other parties made a good-faith effort to settle your case or resolve whatever issues the parties are attempting to resolve.  Once you’ve made a good-faith effort, you are allowed to end the mediation if you do not wish to continue with the process.

Can I Request A Settlement Mediation

Yes.  If you would like to request a Settlement Mediation, the parties are required to file a Form WC-100/Request for Settlement Mediation with the State Board of Workers’ Compensation.  This lets the State Board know that all parties are ready to engage in settlement negotiations.  If you would like to request a Mediation for any other issues, you must file a Form WC-14/Request for Mediation and you must indicate the issues you would like to be resolved at the Mediation.

How Long Will My Settlement Mediation Last

The length of a Mediation or Settlement Mediation will depend on several things, such as the number of issues to be resolved, the complexity of the issues involved, and the willingness of the parties to compromise.  You are required to appear for a Mediation or Settlement Mediation that is scheduled by the State Board, but once you have given a good-faith effort to resolve the issues, you are allowed to end the mediation even if the issues in your case have not been resolved.

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