Interviewer: Is mediation the same thing as dispute management unit?
Kevin Roach: I'm not familiar with what a dispute management unit is. In Missouri, there's three hearings, typically the first hearing of workers compensation claim is called a pre-hearing and what a pre-hearing is, it's just a status conference, you tell the judge where your at with the treatment, whether there are any issues that need to be discussed, the initial stages. Once the claimant or injured worker is released from treatment, and you have a rating report or IME, then you can set the case for mediation. That's the second level.
Over 90% of Missouri Workers’ Compensation Cases Settle Through Mediation
Mediation is when most of the claims, I would say 90% or higher settle. Missouri workers compensation claims settle at mediation because most of the administrative law judges are very skilled at making reasonable recommendations that help the parties settle. The judges see these cases, day in and day out, they know the value of the case better than most of the attorneys and make settlement recommendations which are normally followed. So the judge gives, hopefully a fair recommendation as to what the claim is worth and then that's usually, when the case settles, the judge would typically give a range, the judge might say, well I think his hand has a 25% - 30% disability, so the parties would typically settle within that range.
Settlement value of a St. Louis workers’ compensation claims can be higher than other jurisdictions.
It is well know that your Missouri workers compensation claim can be worth more or less depending on what jurisdiction you file in. For instance, workers compensation claims filed in St. Louis Missouri or St. Charles Missouri or often valued higher than more rural counties.
The Injuries Covered By Missouri Workers Compensation Law
Interviewer: What injuries are covered under Missouri workers compensation law?
Kevin Roach: All injuries must meet the standard of accident, accident being the prevailing factor in causing both the resulting medical condition and disability from the injury. It must arise out of the course of your employment. Most people don't understand what the “prevailing factor” means so that just highlights the need for hiring an experienced Missouri workers compensation lawyer.