Yes! Mediations are very effective in helping to resolve a case. The PA Work Comp Judges, at the first hearing, will usually schedule a mandatory mediation-unless the parties agree that it is futile. An example of futility is if the insurer doesn’t give the attorney any authority to settle the case for a lump sum. But in most cases, the parties will agree to mediate. Even if a mandatory mediation doesn’t occur, the parties can elect to do a voluntary mediation and pick any judge they want.
Why is mediation so effective? First, the parties are not on the record. The injured worker is free to say whatever he or she wants without having to worry about the presiding judge hearing it. It’s less formal. If one or both parties are being unreasonable, the judge can help persuade them. Even if a case doesn’t completely settle at a mediation, it can often streamline the issues. Sometimes, the mediation is an important step in a long settlement process.
Remember- even if the mediating judge believes an injured worker should settle at a certain amount- it is NOT a requirement to settle for a lump sum. The same goes for the insurer. It’s an agreement between two parties, not a unilateral agreement.
Can You Change Your Mind After Mediation? Yes. A Pennsylvania Work Comp Settlement is not finalized until a work comp judge approves it a Compromise & Release Hearing. Usually, if a case settles at mediation, the settlement hearing takes place 2 to 4 weeks later.
For more information about mediation in PA Work Comp cases, call or email 7 days a week. Michael@Cardamonelaw.com