First of all, this is a question that is best directed to your lawyer who will know your case much more thoroughly than anyone on these boards. If you do not have a lawyer, you should obtain one right away. That being said, a mandatory mediation is a forced settlement conference. You can expect to talk to the judge and express what you would like out of the case, and whether there is any possibility that you would accept some negotiated solution in exchange for giving up any further rights under Workers' Compensation.
You should expect to talk with your Attorney for about 30-60 minutes prior to Mediation. Then you should expect your case to settle at the Mediation.
We offer general concepts, but you should give ALL your facts to a licensed Attorney in your state before you RELY upon any legal advice.
Based upon the information that you have provided, if you do not have an Attorney to represent your interest in your Workers Compensation Claim, it is my recommendation that you immediately contact an Attorney who is experienced in handling Workers Compensation Claims to discuss your rights and possible Defenses to the Petition as well as any possible Petitions that could be filed on your behalf.
If you already have an Attorney these questions may best be posed to your attorney who obviously has a better grasp of the facts and status of your case.
Please note that the Mandatory Mediation Conference is required to be scheduled by the Workers Compensation Judge unless one or both parties indicate that negotiations would be "futile" at which point the Judge would note on the record that the Mandatory Mediation Conference will not be scheduled. Although "Mandatory" the Mediation is not "binding" and more often than not does not result in any settlement.
With respect to the Settlement Offer there are many factors that go into determining the value of a Workers Compensation Claim and given the paucity of information that you have provided it would be impossible to answer whether or not said Offer is acceptable or not. One must take into account the injuries sustained by the injured worker, the Weekly Disability Rate, the status of the Litigation, the identity of the Judge who is presiding over the matter, along with other factors too numerous to mention.
Once again, if represented by counsel, it is recommended that you discuss these issues with your Attorney rather than seeking the advice of other attorneys on the Internet. If you do not have an attorney, it is recommended that you immediately contact an Attorney experienced in handling Workers Compensation Claims. Most Attorneys will not charge for an initial consultation and will accept your claim on a Contingent Fee Basis.
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I would agree with the other posters that if you have an attorney, you should really discuss this matter with him. If you do not have an attorney, you should obtain one. Noting that you are in the Wilkes-Barre area, I am very familiar with the judge's here, and based upon the information in your post, an attorney could do a great deal to possibly get your wage loss benefits reinstated and certainly to increase settlement value. Any percentage you may lose on a fee will be more than realized from the value added.
Timothy D. Belt, Esquire Helping injured workers in Northeast Pennsylvania. firstname.lastname@example.org www.belt-law.com DISCLAIMER: This post is intended as general information applicable only to the state of Pennsylvania. The information given is based strictly upon the facts provided. This post is not intended to create an attorney client relationship, or to provide any specific guarantee of confidentiality.
I would also strongly suggest that you have an attorney. The insurance company comes to mediations hoping to get you to settle the case, and this would be especially true if there is medical treatment needed that could be expensive and keep you out for an extended period of time. In my experience they will sometimes deny that care just to get you thinking that its easier to settle than to fight them for the surgery.
This is far from a simple question. There is no way to accurate project what to expect based on the amount of information you posted. The identity of the Judge will have a role in what happens next, as each Judge has different procedures and each Judge may look for different specific pieces of information/evidence. The identities of the Insurance Company doctor and your treating doctors also have to be weighed into the situation. One thing is certain, you need to discuss this with an experienced Workers' Compensation attorney. However, as a general rule, if you need a fusion surgery, it is probably too soon to settle. I strongly suggest you sit down with your attorney and have him/her explain everything too you. If you do not have one, get one. Be sure to hire an attorney who regularly handles Workers' Compensation claims in your area. They will know the Judges well enough to know how best to present your case. Good luck.
If you don't have a lawyer, you should get one today to help you with this. If you do have a lawyer, then you should be asking these questions to your lawyer. Good luck. If your lawyer is not answering these questions, then you may have a bigger problem.