LOUISIANA OFFICE OF WORKERS COMPENSATION
MEDIATION CONFERENCES AND TRIALS
With the right preparation, a Louisiana Workers
Compensation Pre-Trial Mediation Conference offers an
excellent opportunity to either resolve your claim or to
streamline the issues that must be decided by the Workers
Compensation Judge at trial.
Mediation Conference, you and your attorney should have a detailed
discussion about what each of you expects to accomplish
at the meeting. To get maximum results from the Louisiana Workers
Compensation Pre-Trial Mediation Conference, your attorney
should send a letter to the attorney that represents the
Workers Compensation insurance company well in advance of
the Conference outlining your perspective of what would be
required in order to resolve the claim through settlement.
If you would like to resolve your
Workers Comp case through a
lump-sum settlement and your offer is for more than a few thousand dollars,
it's very important that your attorney send the letter at
least a few weeks before the Conference so that the opposing
attorney can confer with the claims adjuster,
the claims manager, your ex-employer and anyone
else that must be involved in the process. This will provide
them with an opportunity to discuss your offer and agree upon a response.
More than one person may need to approve the
appropriation of money the Workers Compensation insurance
company will offer in settlement of your claim. The internal
rules of the Workers Compensation insurance company may
require that all discussions be documented in writing or that each claim must
discussed in a conference involving numerous staff
members on regularly scheduled meeting days.
Therefore, you will usually need to begin
preparing well in advance of the Louisiana Workers
Compensation Pre-Trial Mediation Conference if you hope to
use the Conference to work out a settlement of your claim. You're unlikely
to be able to reach a settlement at the Mediation Conference if you wait
until the Conference to
make your initial offer.
LOUISIANA WORKERS COMPENSATION TRIALS
There are some important differences between Louisiana
Workers Compensation trials and trials held in other courts,
such as Louisiana District Courts or the Federal District
- Louisiana Workers Compensation trials are something
of a mix between a District Court trial and a typical Administrative Hearing, such as a Social
Security Disability Hearing. But all Louisiana Workers
Compensation trials are before a Louisiana Workers
Compensation Judge and you will never have trial before
a jury in a Louisiana Workers Compensation case.
- One of most important rules of law is
which generally means that once a legal matter has been
decided by a court and all of the rights of appeals have
expired, the matter is
decided and may not be brought before the court, or
another court, again. This rule works a little bit
differently in Louisiana Workers Compensation
claims. While it'is true that the Louisiana Workers
Compensation Act states that "[a] judgment denying
benefits is res judicata after the claimant has
exhausted his rights of appeal," the Louisiana Workers
Compensation Judge retains the right to reopen a case to
reconsider virtually any other
type of issue as long as the matter is brought before the
Court within the legal time limits.
- The Rules of Evidence are handled somewhat differently in
Louisiana Workers Compensation cases than in District
Court cases. The Louisiana
Workers Compensation Act states:
The workers compensation judge shall not be bound
by technical rules of evidence or procedure other than
as herein provided, but all findings of fact must be
based upon competent evidence . . . .
Louisiana Workers Compensation Act has
its own set of procedures that are different than
the procedures used in District Court. While the Judges
are not bound by the Rules of Evidence, they are
certainly guided by them. All of the usual objections to
evidence are submitted to Louisiana Workers
Compensation Judges and the Judges are called upon to
decide whether to follow the usual rule or to deviate
from it. As in District Court, objections must be
raised at trial for them to be preserved on appeal.
Vocational Rehabilitation Services.