New procedure for mediation of workers comp cases

Michigan workers comp lawyer outlines changes to the mediation process and describes what will happen to current cases.

Governor Snyder has signed House Bill 5002 and many issues remain. One of those issues is the firing of all state mediators. These are the hardworking people who would try to resolve workers comp cases informally without the need for trial.

Mediation is great for bringing both sides together to discuss their differences. Sometimes it takes multiple hearings for issues to be resolved. Many of our cases are settled during mediation. If a case cannot be resolved through mediation, it is assigned to a magistrate for further action.

The Workers Compensation Agency has now provided some clarification as to what the new mediation policy will be. Here is some information that you should know.

New mediation process for workers comp cases in Michigan

Certain workers comp claims will now automatically be assigned to a facilitator. These individuals are empowered to conduct teleconferences with the parties and lead them in a discussion about the issues. If the case cannot be resolved within 12 weeks from the application date, the matter will be transferred to a magistrate for a trial date.

Here are the following types of workers comp claims that will be set for teleconference:

• Unrepresented Claimants
• Health Care Services Rule Hearings – 104Bs
• Medical-Only Claims
• No Record of Insurance Coverage
• Vocational Rehabilitation Hearings

Pending workers comp claims already on the mediation docket

Workers comp claims that are already on the mediation docket and meet the above criteria will be sent back to Lansing for further review and handling. All other pending cases will be assigned to a magistrate and placed on the trial docket.

Our guess is that many of the claims that meet the above criteria will be set for a teleconference with a facilitator. We imagine that some of the older claims will be assigned to a magistrate regardless of the issues.

It is unknown at this time if you can opt out of the teleconference process. Some workers comp claims cannot be resolved short of trial.

Get help from an experienced workers comp lawyer

We recommend that you hire a workers comp lawyer before you attempt to mediate your claim. An experienced workers comp lawyer can help you focus the legal issues and will get you a better result. You can also jeopardize your entitlement to workers comp benefits if you do or say the wrong thing.

To speak with one of our workers comp attorneys in Michigan, call (855) 221-2667 for a free consultation. There is no fee unless you recover workers comp benefits.

Alex Berman is the founder of Michigan Workers Comp Lawyers. He’s been representing injured and disabled workers exclusively for more than 35 years.  Alex has helped countless people obtain workers comp benefits and never charges a fee to evaluate a case.

Related information:

Workers Comp 101: Know what to expect when your case is filed

WCA – Alternate Dispute Resolution Policy Announcement

01/01/2012
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