Georgia has recognized what an important part mediation can play in the workers’ compensation system by creating the Alternative Dispute Resolution Unit of the State Board of Workers’ Compensation. While many cases are mediated by the State Board, a significant number of workers’ compensation disputes in Georgia still lend themselves to private mediation.
Appropriate cases for private mediation include cases which have been open a long time, cases that can’t seem to move to closure, cases already previously unsuccessfully mediated by the State Board, and cases that present complex legal, factual, or medical issues. In addition, because all workers’ compensation cases by definition arise out of the employment relationship, they often overlap with issues not covered by the Workers’ Compensation Act such as discrimination, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or wage and hour disputes.
It is important to have a mediator familiar with all aspects of the employment relationship. With a longstanding and active employment law practice and as a member of the State Bar of Georgia Workers’ Compensation Section since 1985 I have represented employees, employers, and insurers in federal and state court and at all steps of the workers’ compensation process. I can help both employers and workers eager to resolve these claims efficiently and cost effectively. My long term relationships with both the claimants’ bar and the defense bar, as well as with employers, insurers, third party administrators, and the State Board itself, allow me to present proposals and alternatives which are listened to and trusted by all involved and will help all parties achieve an agreement that might otherwise not be possible.