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Percent of Workers’ Comp Cases That Settle During Mediation in Florida

Percent of Workers’ Comp Cases That Settle During Mediation in Florida

Settling compensation cases proved the most convenient way of getting the benefits you deserve after a workplace accident.

However, not all compensation dispute negotiations result in a settlement.

Mediation is, without a doubt, the most effective method for resolving compensation disputes, but depending on numerous factors, the settlement percentage can vary.

To help you get a clear picture, we explain the percentage of cases that settle during mediation in Florida and how the process behind successful settling looks.

How Many Compensation Cases Result in Settlement During Mediation in Florida?

Settling is a process of reconciling opposing interests. Each side in negotiation starts with high expectations and little or no flexibility in lowering those expectations. However, a successful mediator facilitates talks overbridging the differences between the opposite positions. The settlement is a result of meeting in the middle. To settle the dispute, each party must abandon their initial positions, realizing that the solution is lasting if both parties find it acceptable. Mediation settlement requires flexibility and the ability of both sides to understand different points of view. Knowing what successful negotiation involves, you should expect between 80 and 92 percent of settlement compensation cases that settle during mediation in Florida.

How Do Different Interests Converge During Negotiations?

As mentioned, settling compensation disputes involves reconciling different perspectives. Workplace accident compensation mediation requires finding common ground between the two opposite parties: the injured worker (plaintiff) and the insurance company. The mediator stands in the middle, seeing the dispute from a neutral perspective.

Settle During Mediation in Florida

1. Plaintiff Seeks More

The injured worker claims compensation amount that can cover their medical costs, as well as diminished (or lost) earning ability. They consider the time they will be unable to perform work-related tasks, which affects the benefit rates. Attempting to get the most out of negotiations, the plaintiff will seek the maximum possible amount. However, settling never results in receiving all you asked. The mediation process consists in negotiating between the opposite demands. The mediator motivates the parties to bring offers and counteroffers, pushing them to settle (while staying neutral). In the end, the plaintiff compromises, accepting less than they expected. The key to successful mediation settling is realizing that getting less than anticipated is better than years-long litigation (which results in giving half of your received benefits to pay attorney and court filing fees).

2. Insurance Company Offers Less

An insurance company has a different view on compensation claims. It aims at paying little or nothing, seeking to prove the claim is without merit. If disputing the merits is unsuccessful, insurance lawyers make a low initial offer, trying to minimize the amount of the benefit as much as possible. The mediator seeks to convince the insurance company to pay more than anticipated.

3. The Mediator Awaits in the Middle

Because the mediator is impartial, they push both parties to compromise. During private caucuses, mediators go back and forth between separate session rooms, estimating their arguments and assessing the chances for settling. In that stage, the mediator prepares both parties for negotiation, explaining that the only way to settle is to abandon initial positions and find the least common denominator. In the joint session, the mediator facilitates negotiations and stimulates the parties to bring offers and counteroffers. Without losing neutrality, the mediator will ask both parties to compromise.

What is the Average Workers Comp Settlement Amount?

Different factors contribute to the settlement amount, including the severity of the injury, current and future medical expenses, lost wages, vocational training costs, etc.

In most cases, workers receive between $2,000 and $40,000 settlement. The average amount is $2,000.

Stages of Arbitration​

How Long Does It Take to Settle a Workers Comp Dispute in Florida?

As with the average settlement amount, the time it takes to settle compensation claims also depends on various factors. The settlement efforts can last longer if the insurance carrier disputes your claim, refusing to accept your injury rating. They can disagree with you regarding the issues such as temporary total disability (TTD) rate, temporary partial disability (TPD) rate, and permanent partial disability (PPD) ratings. In addition, reaching the necessary time to receive the maximum medical benefit can affect the length of the process. In any case, the settling can last between several weeks and two years. The average time to settle workplace accident compensation claims in Florida is 1,5 years, with 20 percent of cases in which parties compromise under six months.

How Can You Increase the Likelihood of Settling?

1. Know the Facts

Speed up the process and increase the chances of settling by gathering all the facts regarding your case. Ensure to provide the mediator with accurate information, such as your birth date and the date of a workplace accident. As mentioned, factors contributing to the length of the settling process include your injury ratings (TTD, TPD, PPD), including the number of weeks paid to the claimant and the remaining weeks for payment, so you should give accurate and realistic estimates. Knowing the facts helps the mediator to estimate the possibility of compromise, which increases the chances of settling.

2. Prepare for Sessions

Nothing can drag on the settling process, like parties coming unprepared for the sessions. To avoid losing time, prepare for the sessions by bringing supporting materials. That includes preparing your opening statement and using accurate data while giving offers and counteroffers. Your preparedness enables the mediator to be more effective in helping you resolve the dispute, increasing the chances for success (while decreasing the time for settling).

3. Think About the Strategy

Negotiations are an essential part of settling. Compromising means engaging in talks where each party brings their offer and counteroffer. To negotiate successfully, you must determine the strategy, defining the limits of an acceptable outcome. Successful negotiation involves knowing your BATNA (Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement). That is the best second option if you cannot get the desired outcome. Next, you should also know WATNA (Worst Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement) as your worst-case scenario. That is the offer you cannot accept. Finally, a complete negotiation strategy involves knowing the Most Likely Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement (MLATNA). Knowing your negotiation strategy and the boundaries within which you can move during the process can increase the chances of settling your claim. 

Settling is a Safe Bet with the Mediation Group

At the Mediation Group, our mediators believe settling compensation cases should be a win-win solution.

Our top-notch experts offer a unique approach to compensation negotiations, ensuring to find mutually beneficial outcomes for both parties.

To increase the chances of settling your workers’ compensation claim in Florida, reach out today to schedule your appointment.