If you get hurt on the job or acquire a work-related illness, applying for workers’ compensation benefits just makes sense. The benefits can cover some of your lost wages and all of your medical expenses.
Sadly, some people with valid claims for benefits receive a denial instead of an approval after their initial application. Denials can result from delayed reporting, mistakes in paperwork or even miscommunication between your employer and the insurance company.
If you don’t get benefits immediately, that doesn’t mean you have to pay for your own care and lose out on all of the wages you couldn’t earn. You have the right to appeal a denial. Many times, an appealed benefits decision will lead to a mediation session facilitated by the North Carolina workers’ compensation program. What does that mediation session typically involve?
Mediation helps resolve disputes outside of court
More formal appeals of denied benefits through North Carolina’s workers’ compensation program may require an administrative law judge or even a hearing in front of the Industrial Commission. Obviously, these formal processes take quite a bit of time and cost money to the workers’ compensation program.
Mediation is often a more affordable and often faster solution. You, your lawyer, a lawyer from the insurance company and a mediator will all sit down together to go over the documentation of your injury and the costs involved in your recovery. Roughly 70% percent of cases that go through workers’ compensation mediation resolve without needing any further appeal.
Fighting for your rights during mediation can be difficult
Mediation is a structured process aimed at fairness that often requires compromise. It is a professional setting, and everything you say can impact your chances of success. Attempting to represent yourself while handling complex legal issues like a workers’ compensation appeal could mean making mistakes or falling victim to your own emotions.
Anxiety, anger or even optimism about the other parties involved in mediation could all negatively impact the outcome of your mediation session. You could even get pushed into accepting a settlement that doesn’t really cover your costs. Working with a lawyer ensures that you have someone advocating for you so that you don’t have to focus all of your energy on getting your benefits but rather on your recovery.