Sounds like they are requesting you go to a defense medical exam that will be used to attempt to either stop or modify your benefits. This is definitely a good time to discuss your claim with an attorney.
The fact that there is a mandatory mediation, and not a voluntary mediation, scheduled would indicate that there must be some type of petition pending. I am assuming that this is a petition filed by the IC ,and consequently, your benefits may be being placed in jeopardy. If you have not done so, you should discuss this with an attorney immediately. Mediation can be a very useful procedure in getting cases resolved, but it certainly sounds like there are some issues with your case that need...
After being approved by the judge, WC settlement checks traditionally will be sent directly to the Claimant following the case. If it is going to your attorney, you should direct him to make a copy for you. I do not see why that couldn't be provided for you. Call and ask him.
You should read the terms of your Fee Agreement with your attorney. Usually, when there is a hearing the attorney will submit the fee agreement to the Workers Compensation Judge, who will approve the fee agreement as being reasonable and Order that 20% of your compensation benefits be deducted and paid directly to your attorney. If there is not (or never has been) a petition pending before a WCJ, the attorney would have to petition the Workers Comp Appeal Board for approval of counsel fees....
You should definitely call an attorney immediately. You call your son "young," is he a minor? This may have an impact on the validity of the Release that he signed. But again, you would be well served by calling an attorney in your area as soon as possible. Many attorneys will provide you with a free consultation.
Not sure I would still be calling him a "friend," but I certainly agree with the other posts. You certainly should take him to small claims court. You wont be profitting, you'll be getting the value of the damage he caused, which you certainly are entitled to.
Before you apply for Social Security Disability Benefits, it would be wise for you to talk to a WC attorney and discuss how SS could impact your WC benefits as well as the potential impact SS would have on settlement.
I doubt that there is anything that you can personally do to change things. It sounds like your attorney has taken the appropriate step by filing the Penalty Petition. You can/should be paid in the manner in which you received your paychecks (weekly, bi-weekly etc.) so perhaps asking for that during the litigation of the penalty petition will afford some more certainty. Unfortunately, this happens quite often, and you are not alone in getting this frustrating treatment from the IC.