Mediation is simply a process whereby you and your attorney, and the opposing attorney –and sometimes a representative from your employer and/or a representative from the workers’ compensation carrier– get together in a conference room, along with a neutral third party, or mediator. This usually takes place at the mediator’s office or one of the attorney’s offices.
This is not like other processes you may have heard about such as arbitration. The mediator does not have the power to make any decisions with respect to your case. His or her job is merely to facilitate the two sides getting together to try to resolve your claim.
When we go to mediation, we make sure that we choose a mediator who is familiar with North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Law so that we are all on the same page. It is our job to familiarize you with the process and present your claim in the best light possible.
Usually in the conference room of the mediator’s office, we do a short presentation to the mediator of the facts relating to your case, and then the other side has their turn. We then split up into different rooms, and begin the negotiation process. We have found this process to be especially effective in resolving cases, with 75-90% of all cases settling at mediation.
We always warn our clients that the process can be aggravating, in the same way that buying a car can be aggravating. But it is usually well worth it.