No one wants to face a workers’ compensation dispute, but one way to avoid the stress of a pending court battle is to use mediation instead. In Georgia, the State Board of Workers’ Compensation encourages the mediation process as a means of empowering workers and employers to negotiate their own agreements.
In a perfect world, everyone would be able to resolve disputes without help. Until then, mediation offers some middle ground where you and the other party can come to an agreement together with the help of a neutral party trained to diffuse conflict.
What is mediation?
Mediation is a legal tool that allows parties to negotiate their own contract rather than leaving their well-being in the hands of a third party. Mediators may be lawyers or judges, but they do not have to be. A mediator can be someone of any profession so long as he or she has state certification. The SBWC chooses to retain a group of available attorneys and judges who specialize in workers’ compensation law to act as mediators.
This individual will sit with both parties and facilitate a compromise that both sides can live with. The mediator acts as a neutral party moderating the conversation. This method allows the parties greater control over the outcome.
What can I take to mediation?
Many related issues are eligible for mediation. In fact, many companies and departments encourage mediation as a way to avoid expensive and complex court battles. Benefits complaints, medical issues, wage disputes and disability issues are just a few of the topics you may bring before a mediator.
You do not have to reach an agreement in mediation. Court remains an option for those unable to find a resolution.