What Is the Virginia ADR Orientation Session?

Posted on Wednesday, February 17th, 2016 at 2:00 pm    

The Virginia Worker’s Compensation statute defines orientation as “a preliminary meeting during which the [alternative] dispute resolution proceeding is explained to the parties and the parties and the neutral may assess the case and decide whether to continue with a dispute resolution proceeding or adjudication”

This is typically done at the beginning of the Mediation, is simply accomplished by the Mediator explaining the process to everyone in attendance. Everyone is also required to sign a document that shows that the process has been explained and that they understand and agree to engage in mediation. The document does not mean you are agreeing to settle your claim.

“The neutral or intake specialist conducting the orientation session shall provide information regarding dispute resolution options available to the parties, screen for factors that would make the case inappropriate for a dispute resolution proceeding, and assist the parties in determining whether their case is suitable for a dispute resolution process such as mediation”

Virginia Injured Worker’s Lawyer Joe Miller Helps Employees Who Have an Accident at Work.

Joe Miller knows each part of a Virginia Worker’s Compensation case. This includes preparing your cases for Alternative Dispute Resolution – commonly called mediation. He has helped thousands of Virginia injured employees get the full work and medical benefits they deserve. He’ll make sure all proper claims are made and that justice is obtained. Call attorney Joe Miller at 888-694-1671 and ask for Joe Miller, or email jmiller@joemillerinjurylaw.com

What Documents Are Used In ADR at the Virginia Workers Compensation Commission?

Posted on Monday, February 15th, 2016 at 2:00 pm    

Your Virginia Worker’s Compensation attorney will review with the injured worker all the documents that should be brought. Generally, the key documents will be:

 

  • Claim for Benefits. The employer must file a formal claim for benefits even if the employer is paying benefits.
  • Letters from parties that request ADR/Mediation. ADR/Mediation is not automatic. Somebody does have to request it.
  • Medical Provider Application. Some medical providers can also request mediation if their bills are not being paid. The employee may or may not have to appear depending on the issues. Your lawyer will explain whether you need to appear. Often the dispute is between the health care provider and the employer’s insurance company.
  • Deputy Commissioner referral
  • Employer’s Application

 

Get Strong Justice for Your Work Accident Case

Virginia Workers’ Compensation Attorney Joe Miller has the experience and skills to professionally handle every aspect of your case. He has helped thousands of injured employees get the full benefits they deserve. He understands how to counter many of the arguments the lawyers for the employer and the insurance company will make. He has been representing clients who were injured at work for over a quarter century. Call lawyer Joe Miller at 888-694-1671 and ask for Joe Miller, or email jmiller@joemillerinjurylaw.com

More Questions about the ADR Process in Virginia Worker’s Compensation Cases

Posted on Monday, February 8th, 2016 at 2:00 pm    

What does the mediator do?

The mediator attempts to clarify the disputed issues and tries to help the parties resolve their differences. “If asked to do so by the parties, a mediator may offer opinions or a neutral evaluation. Any opinions or neutral evaluation are not binding on the parties.” The mediator does explain the options that are available. Bottom line through – the parties control the result, not the mediator.

 

What is expected of the injured worker at the mediation?

The worker does need to appear at the mediation and must negotiate in good faith. When asked by the mediator, the injured worker (through his/her lawyer) will give their thoughts. Long discussions are not required. It is a chance to resolve the issues without having someone resolved them for you, so it is important to communicate your concerns to your lawyer throughout the process.

 

How long will the mediation take?

“It depends. The length of time spent in the mediation depends on a number of factors: the number of issues being addressed in the mediation, complexity of the case, amount of information you choose to share, the preparation of the parties. Full and Final or Settlement Mediations are scheduled for three hours. Issue Mediations are usually scheduled for 90 minutes. Mediations may be scheduled for longer by request of the parties, or they may be continued for another session.”

 

Who pays for the mediation?

Neither side pays for the mediation if the mediator is a Commission mediator. If the parties choose their own mediator, then the parties also decide who pays for the mediator.

 

Do I need to bring anything with me to the mediation?

Your lawyer will make sure you have all the necessary documents such as medical bills, your medical history, critical medical reports and opinions, and if the facts of the accident are at issue, photographs.

 

Injured at Work? Contact Virginia Worker’s Compensation Attorney Joe Miller

Joe Miller provides strong counsel for injured workers. He knows the arguments employers and insurance companies make. He prepares your case as though it will be tried but negotiates when a settlement is merited. He’ll do everything possible to make sure you go back to work when you are ready, not when the employer says you can. Lawyer Joe Miller fights to get his clients every dollar that law allows. Contact attorney Joe Miller for an appointment at 888-694-1671 or complete his online form at www.joemillerinjurylaw.com

Questions about the Virginia ADR Process

Posted on Friday, February 5th, 2016 at 2:00 pm    

Who must attend mediation?

The injured worker must participate in the mediation, unless the dispute is between the medical provider and the employer. The insurance company needs to have someone who has the authority to settle the claim, and that usually means the insurance adjuster. Usually the adjuster will attend the mediation via speakerphone and the defense attorney will appear in person.

Injured workers and all representatives are not required to reach an agreement but they must negotiate in good faith. When an agreement cannot be reached, if the matter is contested, it will typically be placed on the docket for hearing.

 

How comfortable should I be about speaking during the mediation?

“Mediation is a confidential process. This means that the information that is shared during the mediation cannot be used by any of the participants in any subsequent court proceedings.” The mediator cannot be forced to appear at a later hearing to testify about what was said. The only information the Deputy Commissioner will have is that a mediation did take place, who was present and whether any agreements were reached. Mediations are not recorded or transcribed.

We have specific things that we counsel our clients to avoid saying. In fact, depending on the client, we usually advise that the client remain silent except insofar as a discussion with the attorney. There are exceptions to this rule.

We find that some clients, after all they have been through, feel the need to ‘get things off their chest’ during the private session portion of the mediation. In addition, some mediators are very good at utilizing client’s feelings to help get the case settled. This also provides a better measure of ‘closure’ for the client and is more emotionally satisfying. Even though it’s really about money, it is not always ONLY about the money.

Who will be my mediator?

“Commission mediators are all trained Commission staff who have been certified to mediate by the Supreme Court of Virginia.” A Deputy Commissioner (DC) will usually mediate your case. “These Deputy Commissioners are certified mediators with experience in workers’ compensation law. If a DC mediates your case, the same DC will be prohibited from hearing your case if the case ends up in court. This restriction is necessary to preserve the mediator’s neutrality in the process.”

 

Is the Employer Requesting a Mediation/ADR in Your Case? Contact a Lawyer Who Knows Virginia Mediation

Joe Miller has helped thousands of clients get the workers compensation benefits they deserve. He has participated in hundreds of mediations and is an expert at negotiating claims. He’ll make sure all proper claims are made and help you negotiate an excellent settlement with the workers compensation insurance company. Of course, if this is not possible, a hearing may be necessary. Call attorney Joe Miller at 888-694-1671 and ask for Joe Miller, or email jmiller@joemillerinjurylaw.com

 

What Are the Goals of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) in Virginia Worker’s Compensation Cases?

Posted on Friday, January 29th, 2016 at 2:00 pm    

The Virginia Worker’s Compensation website discusses many worker issues included ADR. ADR, also known as mediation, is an alternative to litigation that can be quicker, easier and less stressful than conducting a hearing before a Deputy Commissioner. As with all injured worker issues in Virginia, the best way to find out about the ADR process is to speak with an experienced Workers’ Compensation attorney.

 

Either the employee or the employer can request an alternative dispute resolution at any time. There are several types of ADR/mediations that your lawyer will explain. Some are Full and Final Settlement resolutions. Others try to minimize or identify the real issues in the hope a settlement can be reached or the hearing can be limited to just a few issues.

 

An Alternative Dispute Resolution program does not alter the benefits that the employee or his/her dependents, or survivors are allowed under Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act. All parties to the mediation have the right to address each and every issue and to have a hearing if the ADR does not resolve the matters.

 

The big difference with ADR is that the employee, rather than the Deputy Commissioner is the one who decides whether or not to accept the final offer from the workers compensation insurance company.

 

Injured at Work? Virginia Injured Worker’s Lawyer Joe Miller Provides Strong Counsel

Joe Miller has been representing injured workers for over 25 years. He has been involved in numerous mediations and has obtained many satisfactory and complete settlements for his clients. The employer and insurance companies will have lawyers fighting for them. You need an experienced lawyer fighting for you, even if it is in the friendly setting of a mediation. Call attorney Joe Miller at 888-694-1671 and ask for Joe Miller, or email jmiller@joemillerinjurylaw.com

The Virginia Workers’ Compensation Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Program

Posted on Friday, January 1st, 2016 at 2:00 pm    

ADR, also known as Mediation, is an alternative to full litigation. Both the worker and the employer agree to work with a mediator to try to resolve their dispute. Mediation is not required. It is a voluntary process. It is confidential – it does not take place in an open forum. In Virginia, it is not binding until there is an approved and signed agreement. The Order Approving the Settlement must become final, meaning 30 days must pass after entry of the Order. Only then is the settlement truly finalized and enforceable.

The Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission has 19 certified members who work in the 6 geographical areas for Virginia. Until an agreement is reached, both sides can request a hearing. The mediator is supposed to be neutral. The mediator will try to identify the key issues such as whether an accident happened, whether the worker is an employee, what type of disability the worker has, what are the prospective lost wages, what are the likely medical bills and many other issues.

Because there are so many issues involved and because an agreement can become binding, it is critical that any worker contemplating mediation use an experienced Virginia Workers’ Compensation attorney. Also, in some instances, agreement to mediation can be used by the other side as a tool to delay. They may have no intention of resolving the claim or agreeing to anything.

According to the Commission all workers and all employers who go through mediation with the goal of attempting to settle the worker’s case MUST use legal counsel. This is for your protection.

The key for the injured worker is to use someone with broad experience who knows the pitfalls of mediation, who will make sure all legal and medical issues are fully considered and who will anticipate the arguments employers and insurance companies make.

According to the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission, these are the issues most often mediated:

  • Medical treatment
  • Medical bills
  • Average weekly wage
  • Mileage
  • Temporary Partial rates
  • Closed periods of Temporary Total Disability Benefits
  • Return to work
  • Cost of Living Allowance

Call Injured Worker’s Lawyer Joe Miller Before Accepting Mediation of Your Virginia Compensation Claim

Joe Miller has helped thousands of Virginia injured employees. He knows how to process your claim, work with insurance companies, respond to company lawyers and try your case in court. Call attorney Joe Miller at 888-694-1671 and ask for me, Joe Miller, or email me at jmiller@joemillerinjurylaw.com.