Can Your Augusta, Georgia, Workers’ Compensation Dispute Be Resolved Through Mediation?

May 19, 2017

Can Your Augusta, Georgia, Workers’ Compensation Dispute Be Resolved Through Mediation?

If you have been injured on the job in Augusta, Georgia, then you need to make sure that you take all of the appropriate and required steps to get workers’ compensation benefits. These include:

  • Inform your employer of the injury.
  • Fill out an incident report.
  • Seek medical treatment right away from the ER and/or approved physician.
  • Keep all medical documents and records.

Depending on the severity of your injury, you may do things in a different order. You may be rushed to an emergency room in an ambulance, preventing your from filling out the incident report, for example. If you do require emergency treatment, then you can go to the nearest ER and this will be covered. If you do not need emergency treatment, or if you require follow up treatment after the ER visit, then you need to go to an approved physician. Your employer should provide you with a list of approved physicians that you can go to and receive medical benefits to cover the cost.

In most cases, when a work related injury occurs, your employer will assist you in filing for workers’ compensation benefits. If they do not help you with this step, then you can still file for workers’ compensation benefits without their help. You may opt to do so on your own, or you may seek the guidance, advice, and representation of an Augusta, Georgia, workers’ compensation attorney. Typically, if you run into any problems at all with a workers’ compensation claim, it is a good idea to get a lawyer to make sure that your case is handled fairly and correctly.

If your workers’ compensation claim is approved, then you will get medical benefits and wage benefits at two-thirds of your average weekly wage or AWW, not to exceed $575 per week (as of July 2016). Your wage benefits will not be awarded unless and until you miss at least seven days of work. The first seven days will not be covered unless and until you are out of work for at least 21 days. In cases where there is any dispute, you may be ordered to attend mediation, which is what we’re going to look at today. Following are some situations where mediation may be ordered:

  • Your employer denies that your injury is work related.
  • You disagree with the opinion of your physician.
  • Your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance denies the severity of your injury.
  • You do not receive the appropriate amount of benefits.

You Must Attend Mediation if the State Board of Workers’ Compensation Orders You to Do So

Mediation is not optional if it is ordered by the State Board of Workers’ Compensation. You are required to attend, although you are not required to provide any information or statements. Having said that, it is actually in your best interests to make your point as clearly as possible in mediation. A skilled Augusta, Georgia, workers’ compensation attorney from Ted A. Greve & Associates Injury Lawyers can help you through this process. We will make sure that you are prepared and that your side of the situation is well represented in the mediation environment. You will want to take all of the relevant medical documents, estimates of your ongoing care expenses, and any other information that may be pertinent to resolving your workers’ compensation dispute. Not only can an attorney help you to be well prepared with all necessary documents and evidences, but you are going to feel more confident with skilled legal representation on your side.

Many people are wary of mediation, because they worry about saying the wrong thing and sabotaging their own claims by being misunderstood or failing to adequately express the severity of injuries. It is helpful to be aware here that the mediator will not be involved in your case beyond this appointment. The mediator will be a lawyer or a judge who has experience in workers’ compensation, but it will not be a lawyer or a judge that is otherwise involved in the case. If you do not reach an agreement in mediation, then the mediator will make a note of this, but will say nothing else about it. If you do reach an agreement, then the mediator will make a note of this, but will say nothing else about it. The mediation appointment is going to be entirely confidential. The goal is to resolve your case without going to court, and both sides will be motivated to do so. Nobody wants to deal with the time and expenses that going to court will require, so this is the perfect opportunity to resolve the dispute.

How Does Mediation Help Workers Resolve Disputes in Augusta, Georgia, Workers’ Comp Claims?

Because mediation is led by a skilled and experienced mediator who fully understands workers’ compensation law, the process is incredibly helpful in resolving workers’ compensation disputes. The mediator can tell you exactly how the law applies to your case and even give you an idea of what you can expect to happen if you do take the dispute to court. The mediator is also not biased on the side of yourself or on the side of the employer or workers’ compensation insurance company. They are neutral and simply want to help you both come to a fair agreement. Having an attorney on your side can ensure that the conversation is based on the law and how it applies to your case, minimizing the likelihood of the emotional aspect of your dispute getting in the way of progress.

Ted A. Greve & Associates Can Help with Your Workers’ Compensation Mediation

As an injured worker, you cannot be reasonably expected to have a complete understanding of the law and how it may apply to your workers’ compensation dispute. Yet, not understanding how things work and not  being fully aware of your rights can put you in a bad position. You don’t want your voice to be ignored or drowned out by legal jargon and your own inability to adequately express your case. You want to be taken seriously, and you want your concerns to be addressed. This is where the compassionate Augusta workers compensation attorneys at Ted A. Greve & Associates can make all the difference. Call today to schedule a free consultation and start preparing your case.