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Dawn Atkin

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The Labor Commission has established a mediation department to assist the parties in a workers' compensation case reach settlement. Mediation is simply a chance for both sides to sit down with a neutral person to discuss fair settlement options. Nothing said in a mediation (except fraudulent misrepresentations) can be used against any party.

It is vital to be prepared for the mediation. The injured worker is expected to make the first settlement proposal. Attending without knowing what the case is worth, could result in a low settlement. Medical expenses, future medical costs, time off work, and permanent partical disability owed should be carefully calculated and brought to the mediation.  At Atkin & Associates we calculate what the Judge is likely to Order in the case, and use that to discuss settlement.  We discuss this with our clients well before mediation so that important decisions can be made without pressure.

There are three steps in mediation. First, the parties meet and each side provides a basic outline of their case. At this stage, the injured worker can simply listen while his attorney outlines the issues. Second, the insurance company attorney is moved to a separate room. This allows each side to speak confidentially with the mediator and discuss settlement proposals. The mediator takes settlement offers back and forth, discussing strengths and weaknesses in the cases. Third, once settlement has been reached or the parties decide settlement is not possible at that time, the parties meet again to decide how best to proceed.

If settlement is reached, the mediator will notify the Judge that the hearing can be cancelled. If settlement is not reached, the hearing proceeds as scheduled

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K. Dawn Atkin
Attorney with Atkin & Associates
(801) 521-2552
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