Mediating Your Workers' Compensation Claim
Your first step if you've been injured in a workplace accident in Louisiana that sends you to the doctor or leaves you unable to return to work is to file a claim with your employer for workers' compensation benefits. Once that is done, your employer, or its insurer, will notify you of the type and amount of workers' compensation benefits it believes you are entitled to receive. In many cases, the employer's initial determination is acceptable, but when it is not, you have the right to dispute what your employer says you're entitled to.
What is a Mediation Conference?
If you cannot resolve your benefits dispute with your employer directly, you have the right to ask the Louisiana Office of Workers' Compensation for a mediation conference. This is a meeting with you and your attorney (if you have one), your employer's representative, and an Office of Workers' Compensation mediator, a licensed attorney trained in mediation techniques and knowledgeable about workers' compensation law. The goal of a mediation conference is to settle the dispute between you and your employer about your workers' compensation benefits. Note that the mediation conference at this stage is voluntary; your employer is free to decline to participate, but in many cases, the employer is interested in resolving disputes sooner rather than later and will agree to the conference.
What Happens if We Don't Settle at Mediation?
If the mediation conference does not settle your workers' compensation dispute with your employer, you lose nothing. If you're unable to resolve the matter in mediation, your next step is to file a Disputed Claim for Compensation with the Office of Workers' Compensation, which preserves your rights to your workers' compensation benefits and begins a process that can end in a trial before a workers' compensation judge. Even after you file your disputed claim notice, you can ask for a mediation conference to
resolve the matter without the additional time and uncertainty of a court proceeding. This is the case whether or not you had a mediation conference before you filed your Disputed Claim for Compensation.
Do I Have to Ask for a Mediation Conference Before I File a Disputed Claim for Compensation?
You are not required to ask for a mediation conference before you file your Disputed Claim for Compensation. And in most cases, mediation conferences are completely voluntary; if either party decides they don't want to participate, the conference won't happen. There is one exception: if a workers' compensation judge orders the parties to participate in a mediation conference, you're both required to show up.
How Can Delsa Law Firm, LLC, Help Me at a Mediation Conference?
At Delsa Law Firm, LLC, helping hard-working employees resolve their workers' compensation disputes is something we have been doing for years. Attorney Delsa understands the law and how the workers' compensation dispute system works, and regularly represent clients in workers' compensation mediation conferences. Attorney Delsa's experience with these types of conferences and workers' compensation trials means he is able to make convincing arguments to the mediator and the employer that are well-grounded in both the facts of our client's case and the applicable law. The result is frequently a settlement of the dispute months before the trial process would eventually be complete.
Delsa Law Firm, LLC, is located near the intersection of interstates 10, 12, and 59 in Slidell. If you work in Louisiana – no matter whether you live here or commute to your job from a neighboring state such as Mississippi – and have been injured in a workplace accident, give us a call at (985) 882-1222, or use our online contact form to reach out and learn how we can help.