Mediation FAQ

Under Florida workers’ compensation statutes, mediation is required before any dispute about workers’ compensation benefits can be presented to the judge of compensation claims to decide at a hearing.

When a workers’ compensation claimant believes they are entitled to a workers’ compensation benefit that the employer and its workers’ compensation insurance carrier have not provided, the claimant files a Petition for Benefits. The petition is sent to the judge of compensation claims to hold a final hearing after which the judge rules on whether the claimant is entitled to the benefits claimed. Before the judge schedules the final hearing, Florida law requires the parties to attend a mediation and discuss the benefits in the Petition for Benefits.

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What is Workmans Compensation mediation?

Mediation is a meeting of the parties in which a mediator acts to encourage and facilitate the resolution of disputes prior to those disputes being decided by a judge. The mediator brings the parties together with the hope that they can informally discuss the benefits at issue and resolve any disputes. The mediator facilitates the discussion but does not have any authority to decide the issues or to force either party to agree to anything.

When does the mediation occur?

A mediation is scheduled by either the parties’ attorneys or by the state mediator’s office and must be held within one hundred and thirty (130) days after the filing of a Petition for Benefits.

Who attends the mediation?

A representative of each party and each party’s lawyer must attend the mediation. The employer/carrier may bring one or more representatives from the employer or the insurance carrier.

Who pays for the mediation?

There is no charge to either party for mediation with the state mediator. If the mediation is with a mediator chosen by the parties because there was no available opening with a state mediator, the employer/carrier pays for the mediation.

What happens at the end of the mediation?

If the parties have resolved all the issues, the mediator sends a form to the judge noting that all issues have been resolved and therefore no final hearing will be needed. If any issues are left unresolved, the mediator sends a form to the judge stating that the parties did not resolve all the pending issues so that the judge knows to schedule a final hearing on the unresolved issues.

Is Dennis employed by the Florida Division of Workers' Compensation?

Yes.  Dennis is a neutral party who attempts to help the parties talk out any disputes they have. The mediator may be either a lawyer employed by the Florida Division of Workers’ Compensation or a private mediator selected by the parties to act as the mediator.