Being injured on-the-job is no picnic. It means having to take time off to heal, which can sometimes put a person out of commission for weeks or even months. Most people can't make ends meet financially if they cannot work.
Fortunately, workers' compensation benefits are available to workers in Pennsylvania who have suffered a workplace injury and cannot work for an extended period.
When a person is injured in the workplace and is pursuing workers' compensation benefits, they may first try to resolve the issue through alternative dispute resolution (ADR). ADR is not as formal as a trial, but it still involves a neutral judge. The judge will assist the worker and employer in reaching a settlement. One form of ADR is mediation, which is generally mandatory. However, whether to pursue a settlement after mediation is still up to the parties.
There are a variety of reasons why ADR can be beneficial. Litigating a case can be costly both in time and money, not to mention emotionally. ADR processes are generally completed in less time than a trial. In addition, through ADR, the parties can have a say in the outcome of their case. This control often leads to a more satisfactory outcome. Also, if a judge approves the parties' settlement, the issue is finalized and there is no need to repeat filings or appeal an unfavorable decision.
ADR is useful, but it is not for everyone. While it has many advantages, there may be situations in which a worker would rather pursue a trial. In the end, workers need to make decisions that are in their best interests. Attorneys can be a useful resource for those pursuing workers' compensation claims, who want to learn more about ADR.