You know the claims I’m talking about: the really old claims where the Injured Worker is representing himself/herself. Let’s call them the SRAs, self-represented applicants. Active SRAs file one court paper after another, causing the insurer or self-insured employer to fund what seems like a never-ending stream of money to send a representative to the Board. The SRA’s papers may not state a recognizable claim. Pressed for time, the Information and Assistance officer may give the SRA short shrift. Defense attorneys with varying degrees of patience usually do, too.
But what if what the parties really need is a sort of an interpreter, a mediator.
Mediating an SRA’s claim demonstrates respect for the SRA. The feeling of lack of respect and inability to get heard is often what drives the SRA to keep summoning the employer to court.
“Why would I waste time and money on a worthless claim?” you may ask. Because you’re spending time and money now, and mediation is a way to end that endless cycle.