Alternative Dispute Resolution is a holistic approach adopted by Virginia to facilitate better communication between workers and employers in the event of workplace accidents. It can be an effective alternative to litigation for resolving workers' compensation issues.
The main aim of ADR is to resolve workers' compensation issues through mediation. Currently, the ADR department has 11 certified mediators in six different locations throughout Virginia.
The mediators help both parties reach a final solution amicably. The main duty of a mediator is to clarify misunderstandings and explore practical alternatives to reach an agreement. A claimant can either request issue Mediation or Full and Final Mediation. Issue Mediation is only offered if the issue filed by the plaintiff is amenable to mediation.
Disputes appropriate for Issue Mediation include medical treatment, medical bills, temporary partial rates, return to work and average weekly wage. If a claimant wishes to mediate a complete settlement of their claim, they can request Full and Final Mediation by submitting a request in writing to the ADR mediation scheduler.
Parties who enter into Full And Final Mediation must come to the mediation with full settlement authority. The mediation process usually takes three hours, but parties can request additional time if required. All these facilities and services are free of cost and help resolve claims quickly. Workers who choose to mediate their workers' compensation claims can benefit from being represented by an experienced workers' compensation lawyer at the mediation. An experienced attorney can help a worker reach an agreement that is in their best interest.
Source: VWC.State.VA.us, "Alternative Dispute Resolution," Accessed on April 7, 2015