Mediation: the advantages of dispute resolution

Group 152

Table of Contents

We have been told that nothing is guaranteed in life. Nothing is more true then when you go to hearing for workers’ compensation benefits. There is always a certain amount of uncertainty regardless of how good your case may be. Consequently, mediation is a way for all parties to get together and attempt to reach a settlement.

Mediation is a non-binding process where all parties meet to discuss the disputed issues before a neutral mediator.

The mediator will help the parties reach a mutual settlement by exploring the strengths and weaknesses of each party. It is not the mediator’s role to decide who is right or wrong but instead help the parties reach a fair and equitable settlement.

Mediation in the State of Minnesota is offered for free through the State.

The Department of Labor and Industry offers free mediation to claimants. The following types of claims can be mediated:

  • medical expenses;
  • choice of treatment or change of physician;
  • wage-loss benefits;permanent partial impairments;
  • causation (whether an injury is related to work);
  • multiple-party claims;
  • retraining and other vocational rehabilitation issues;
  • denials of primary liability; and any other dispute about workers’ compensation benefits.

If interpretation services are needed, an interpreter will be supplied at no additional cost to the parties.

If an agreement is reached, the mediator will arrange for the Mediation Resolution/Award to be signed, awarded, and served and filed.

The Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) also offers mediation services. The following types of claims can be mediated:

  • Complex Litigation – difficult factual and/or legal issues
  • Lengthy trial – numerous witnesses, voluminous documents
  • Multiple parties or dates of injury
  • Long-running litigation
  • Sensitive issues
  • Other considerations by judge or parties
  • Cases not high priority for mediation scheduling, e.g. discovery incomplete, small amount in controversy

If you are interested in Mediation through OAH, an information sheet has been prepared by the state outlining the specific items that need to be completed before medication. Additionally, a Mediation Request Form will need to be filled out and submitted in order to request a mediation.

Lastly, the parties may decide to hire a mediator to mediate the matter. Typically, the cost of the mediator will be split equally among the parties.

Mediation can be an effective tool to resolving the matter quickly and efficiently.