Informal Conferences, Mediations, Hearings & Appeals
Informal conferences are held in accepted claims when the injured worker who has no attorney and has reached Maximum Medical Improvement (MMI).
The adjuster will request that the Workers’ Compensation Commission set the case for an informal conference before a Workers’ Compensation mediator/arbitrator who will assist the carrier’s representative and the injured worker in coming to an agreement on the amount of permanent compensation to be paid to the worker.
If no agreement can be reached or in the opinion of the presiding Workers’ Compensation mediator/arbitrator, there are other issues to be considered, the case will be referred to the Workers’ Compensation Judicial Department to be set for a Mediation or Hearing.
This is a very dangerous situation for the injured worker unless he is very, very well versed in the law and his rights as an injured worker. Very few people are.
Most attorneys are not well versed in the law of Workers’ Compensation.
Once we represent a worker, we “level the playing field.”
We negotiate directly with the carrier’s representative or their attorney in order to obtain a more favorable resolution for the worker – without the delay of an informal conference.
We will help settle your claim quickly and in the manner that protects your future interests. That was NOT the adjusters job- it is OUR JOB!
Once a Mediation or Hearing is requested, the Workers’ Compensation Commission will assign the claim to the office of one of its Hearing Commissioners.
In accepted cases and contested death cases, mediations are often scheduled before going on to a Formal Hearing.
In Mediations, the parties attempt a resolution before a mediator who has been appointed by the Commissioner’s office. The events which take place in Mediations are not made part of the Workers’ Compensation file on the casefile.
If the case is later set for a Hearing, the Mediation proceedings are not admissible and no party to the mediation can be compelled to later testify as to the events of the Mediation at a hearing.
Workers’ Compensation Hearings are usually held in the county in which the accident occurred but, they may be held in other locations at the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission’s discretion or at the request of the parties. In a Hearing, the case is presented before the assigned Hearing Commissioner. (There is no jury in cases before the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission.) The Hearing Commissioner is assisted by a certified court reporter, who records the proceeding.
The defense attorney will be present with any witnesses and usually one or two persons involved with the employer and possibly the insurance carrier. The claimant, his attorney and any witnesses they choose to call will be with them. Witnesses are subpoenaed to the Hearing.
Hearings are usually scheduled minutes apart. They are less formal than traditional courtroom proceedings but generally follow the format of a civil trial.
Appeals of decisions made at the single Hearing Commissioner level go to a review by a Panel of Commissioners. These are usually held in Columbia and no new testimony or evidence is allowed so the claimant does not testify or need to appear. Appeals beyond this level are handled through the regular South Carolina Court systems.
We suggest that you hire an experienced Workers’ Compensation attorney such as Peter Brown to handle your claim. You have too much at risk.
Even if you do not hire us; there is just too much at stake for you and your family to lose. Please feel free to e-mail us at Peterdavidbrown.com or call us at (843)971.0099. You can click here to reach us now and set up a no-cost no obligation conference to evaluate your claim.