In a previous blog, we discussed some of the basics of mediation and tips on how to select the right mediator for your claims under the Defense Base Act (DBA) and the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (Longshore Act). Today, we are going to jump into the thick of why mediation can be so effective in getting to the bottom of any issues with your DBA or Longshore Act claim. Specifically, we have teased out seven primary reasons why mediation can be game changer for your workers’ compensation claim.
We at Doolittle & Tucker understand why mediation can be so helpful to your cause because we have worked on thousands of claims in which mediation played an important, and often definitive, role in the ultimate resolution of a claim. Our DBA and Longshore Act attorneys are so successful in getting great outcomes for our clients because we know when mediation is the right play to make. Call us at 904-396-1734 and speak with one of our expert Longshore Act attorneys. It is our mission to take care of your DBA or Longshore Act claim so you can focus on what is important – recovering from your work-related injuries.
Reason #1: The Ball Is In Your Court – Decisions Are Not Imposed On You
Because mediation is essentially a negotiation with the help of a neutral third party (the mediator) you never lose control of how an issue or case is resolved.
When you are in court or in a proceeding with a claims adjudicator, an adjudicator looks at the facts, hears from both sides, and then makes a call on who wins and by how much. That can be a frustrating experience for a claimant, particularly when you feel that you did not really get a chance to make your position clear.
Mediation, by contrast, allows you to work towards a resolution to which both parties must agree. Rather than having a decision imposed upon you, you need to agree to the resolution before the case or issue is resolved.
Reason #2: What Happens in Mediation, Stays in Mediation
Mediations are confidential. The confidentiality attached to the process allows you to explore avenues of resolution without necessarily committing, unless making the commitment works for you.
Unlike certain proceedings that are open to the public, mediations allow for the parties to play with ideas, and to entertain options for agreement that may be too risky for a party to entertain if the proceeding was public. When you want to settle something, privacy sometimes gives the parties cover and freedom to get creative, and ultimately get past a point of friction.
Reason #3: Cheaper is Sometimes Better
Mediation is far cheaper than bringing a DBA or Longshore Act claim all the way to court. While there is some cost for attorney time, mediator time, and your time in mediation, those dollar figures pale in comparison to the amount of time and money you need to spend to litigate a case in court.
At bottom, the goal when you file your DBA or Longshore Act claim is to obtain compensation for your work-related injuries. Therefore, every dollar you spend fighting in court for your claim is another dollar you don’t have for your recovery from injury. While you do not want to resolve your claim on the cheap just to come to a resolution, you also want to give yourself the best shot at coming to an agreement, so you can move past the rancor of litigation. Mediation could be that best shot.
Reason #4: Get to the Finish Line Faster
Litigating a DBA or Longshore Act claim can take a while. In fact, depending upon the complexity of the action, it could take upwards of a year or more to get to the finish line.
Mediation typically occurs at the beginning of the claims process. Therefore, it will often yield an agreement ending the case much more quickly than if you waited for the matter to wind its way through “the system.” The adage “time is money,” holds true here. That is because you get some benefit, stress- and cost-wise, by reaching an early resolution. Again, that does not mean you should give away your claim. But, finding areas of agreement at the front end will save a lot of aggravation at the back end.
Reason #5: Mediator as Your Third Base Coach
In baseball, a good third base coach can often see the playing field better than you, and will help you decide whether to bunt or swing away, or whether to stay put or steal home. In the same way, a mediator can see the bigger picture and is a trained expert in facilitating an agreement.
Mediators are highly skilled in finding points of friction, points of agreement, and the pressure points of each party. With those skills, a good mediator can help the parties understand where an agreement may land, and can help the parties determine whether it is worthwhile to come to an agreement.
Reason #6: Leave It All on the Playing Field
Mediation can occur in any type of dispute, business or personal. The beauty of mediation is that it is a process focused on reaching a mutual agreement. Litigation stands in stark contrast, as litigation tends to incentivize parties to attack one another. Therefore, mediation can be instrumental in saving relationships between parties in a dispute. You simply have a better feeling about the other side when you both come to an agreement, rather than when a judge picks a winner.
Now, with regard to a DBA or Longshore Act claim, it is less important that you as a claimant “make nice” with an insurance company. That said, parties that are working hard towards an agreement with each other could lead to much better results than parties vigorously fighting with each other.
Reason #7: Stay In The Game As Long As You Want
Mediation is ultimately voluntary. While you may be ordered to engage in mediation, you are not required to come to an agreement. Rather, you can stay in the game as long as you want.
If, in your DBA or Longshore claim, the insurance company proves to be entirely unreasonable or won’t budge on the simplest of issues, then nothing mandates that you remain in mediation. In fact, having the confidence to walk away may send a message to the insurance company. The message is that you expect reasonable behavior, or you will put that insurance company through its paces.
In sum, mediation could be a viable option to get you the outcome you want for your DBA or Longshore Act claim. Let Doolittle & Tucker advise you on whether, and when, to engage in mediation. Our expert attorneys can be your coach, and help you make all the right plays, when it comes to winning the best outcome for your claims. Call 904-396-1734 today.