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    Should I Be Suspicious of Alternative Dispute Resolution Proposed by My Employer?

    Vanasse Workers Compensation Lancaster, PA

    Alternative Dispute Resolution is a fancy term for mediation. It offers an option outside of litigation when two parties are having a dispute about how to resolve an issue. When Alternative Dispute Resolution is used to settle a legal disagreement, the two parties involved take their case to a mediator who has experience in the issue at hand, who will listen to both sides, then try to ask as a go-between to arrive at a mutually agreeable way to settle the matter. Alternative Dispute Resolution has become increasingly popular in a number of arenas for several reasons: it is generally a faster and less expensive process than going to court, and both sides generally end up feeling that they’ve had the opportunity to have their say during the proceedings, and to work together to come up with an answer – but that is not always the case. When it comes to Workers’ Compensation awards, the use of Alternative Dispute Resolution offers a couple of advantages. At Vanasse Law, we are happy to provide you with some helpful information on the process.

    In Pennsylvania the Alternative Dispute Resolution Process provides the ability for both the injured worker and their employer to sit down and have an information discussion about their differences. A workers’ Compensation judge participates, working to help them each see the other’s side. This can happen through mediation, an informal conference, or a settlement conference. Many people prefer this process to the more formal workers’ compensation hearings because they can save both time and aggravation. Mediation is generally a faster process and the conversations are less formal: there is no sworn testimony, no need to prepare or provide exhibits, and no conversations are recorded. The lack of formality allows for a more open line of communication gives both sides the ability to speak directly and without interruption or formal framework about their concerns and their needs. Not only does this give both sides a sense of being heard, but also provides the ability to understand one another.

    Perhaps most importantly, when Alternative Dispute Resolution is used, people feel that they have a better sense of control of the outcomes, a clearer sense for what to expect, and they are all able to do so without having to constantly appear at different hearings or to file appeals.

    If you are considering choosing Alternative Dispute Resolution to resolve your Workers’ Compensation Award, remember that you always have the right to work with an attorney and to have them represent you throughout the proceedings. An attorney from the Lancaster law firm of Vanasse Law can provide you with both experience in negotiations and knowledge of workers’ compensation law that will work to your advantage. For more information, call us today to set up a convenient time for an appointment.