Why Is My Florida Workers’ Compensation Attorney Setting Up Depositions and Mediations For Me?
The Florida Workers’ Compensation law is a unique system. It was established and remains an administrative law. The law’s intent is to administer medical benefits, lost-wage benefits and everything else in-between in a timely fashion. The Florida Workers’ Compensation law is a no-fault system. The system is set up to provide medical, lost-wage benefits, etc. regardless of who causes the workplace accident. Despite the system being no-fault, there are legal events set up to move your claim/case forward. This article will discuss those legal events, who typically schedule them, and what to expect. It’s crucial to hire an experienced Florida Workers’ Compensation attorney prior to filing a Florida Workers’ Compensation Claim.
Generally, the attorney for the Employer/Carrier will ask to take an injured workers’ deposition. This typically occurs after the initial request is made for medical care, lost wages, etc., in the form of a Petition for benefits. The Employer/Carrier will request a deposition so they can get a better idea of how an injured worker was injured, his/her work duties at the job, who he/she reported the accident to and a list of prior injuries sustained whether on or off of the job. These depositions are very common. They occur in the majority of Florida Workers’ Compensation claims. Importantly, we will be there with you for the Deposition. You will not need to go on your own. Whether it’s appearing by telephone or in-person, you won’t be left alone! Depositions are question and answer sessions. You will answer questions asked by the attorney for the Florida Workers’ Compensation insurance company. We’ll schedule a time to discuss the deposition and prepare you for it.
Who schedules these Depositions-The Employer/Carrier’s attorney requests and works with our office to schedule. However, we may take the deposition of a manager, co-worker, etc. from the employer. We’ll work with the attorney for the Employer/Carrier to schedule those depositions. You will not need to attend the Depositions we take of members of the Employer.
We are asked all the time why Mediation is set in our clients claims. First-A mediation is simply an opportunity for the parties to join together with the help of a state mediator to attempt to: 1) resolve issues in the case, 2) settle the case; 3) discuss issues in the case. In Florida Workers’ Compensation, a Judge cannot settle your case or order either party to resolve the case. That’s why mediation is an effective event to attempt to settle the case. There is no cost to you for State Mediations. These costs are paid by the State/system. The Mediation must be held within 130 days of the date of the Petition for Benefits that was filed. We will receive a date the Mediation must be set by and work with the Employer/Carrier to set a time that works for you and them. However, the State Mediation is automatically triggered/set due to the Petition for Benefits that is filed. If you’re interested in settlement right away, Mediation is the perfect time to address that. It’s equally just as effective to discuss authorization of medical care or payment of lost wage benefits.
Private mediation is a great tool for potential case settlement. Private mediations occur outside of the State system. The Employer/Carrier will pay a private mediator to mediate your case. That mediator generally is paid by the hour and will help resolve the case/issues. Moreover, there tends to be less of a time crunch in the private mediations as well.
WHAT HAPPENS AT A MEDIATION?
Whether State Or private, mediation is an informal event. No party is required to do anything. However, remember, a State Mediation will be automatically scheduled upon our office filing a Petition for Benefits. State mediations will occur at the Judge of Compensation claims office in your home district. I.e. if you live in Lake Worth the State Mediation will occur at the Office of the Judge of Compensation Claims in West Palm Beach.
Generally, your experienced LaBovick Law Group Florida Workers’ Compensation attorney will discuss your case in what’s known as an “opening.” He/she will talk about the medical care you’ve received-the extent of the injuries, the objective findings, the doctor’s recommendations, and where the treatment is headed. We’ll likewise discuss litigation issues and reiterate a settlement demand if you authorized us to make one prior to Mediation. The Employer/Carrier will give their “opening” by discussing their defenses of the case and how they evaluate your case. Certainly, it’s very typical for the parties to disagree about the seriousness of the injuries and medical care/settlement value. The mediator is an independent third party that is there to help the parties reach an agreement if possible. Anything we tell the mediator is privileged while in caucus. Caucus simply refers to the time when the parties split up after the “opening” and go in separate rooms. Anything you tell the mediator stays with the mediator; the mediator cannot disclose anything you say. The mediator will go between both rooms and relay whatever information the parties wish to share. If the case is being negotiated, the mediator will communicate offers and counter-offers to the parties.
Ultimately, if a settlement agreement is reached, that agreement is binding like a contract. The mediator will draft an agreement. The parties will sign the agreement. The parties cannot back out of a mediated settlement agreement. This agreement has the same effect as signing actual settlement documents. Moreover, private mediations follow the same steps for the most part. However, private mediations will take place either at a court reporter’s office, our office, the Employer/Carriers attorney’s office, etc.
HIRE AN EXPERIENCED FLORIDA WORKERS’ COMPENSATION ATTORNEY
It’s crucial to hire an experienced attorney to ensure that you have representation during all aspects of your case/claim. We’ll be there to prepare/defend you at Depositions. We’ll be there to take the necessary depositions to prove your case. Moreover, we’ll ensure that Mediations are successfully utilized as a tool for resolution and case settlement if you so choose.