By: Stacy J. Crider
Not all workers’ compensation cases go to a hearing in front of the Indiana Workers’ Compensation Board. In fact, the majority of cases are resolved before they ever get to a hearing. In many cases, a claimant needs medical bills paid, more medical care, or protection for their jobs due to medical restrictions on their work release. These things are often needed immediately or as soon as possible. This makes it in the claimant’s best interest for their attorney to work with the insurance provider or opposing counsel to reach a resolution. I make it my practice to work as hard as I can to reach this understanding while still protecting my client’s interests. If the parties cannot reach an agreement, there is also the possibility of going to mediation. This is a process where a third person, called the mediator, would be appointed to listen to both sides and attempt to help come up with an agreement that makes everyone happy. Only if both of these options fail, would a workers’ compensation case go to a hearing.
There are things that can help the settlement process stay on the right path. It’s important that you as the client not only stay in communication with your attorney to make sure your interests are met, it’s also important to be cooperative of the things that your attorney and your doctors ask you to do. Making your doctor’s appointments and fulfilling treatment obligations as instructed, helps your recovery as well as the negotiation process. Insurance adjusters tend to be more amicable with a claimant who is compliant.