The Department of Labor (“DOL”) serves as an arbiter of settlement between the injured worker and the Employer. Settlements must be approved by either the District Director or an Administrative Law Judge.
No settlements will be approved without the consent of both parties, including the injured worker. The DOL will review each case to ensure that the injured worker has reached a level of medical permanency and that he does not require substantially more medical care. Often, future medical care can be quantified and settled.
Sometimes, a case may be settled even though the Employer has denied the case entirely and does not believe that an injury occurred on the job. However, an injured worker will never be forced to settle his case.
Private mediations with all parties present are sometimes held by the parties, with an experienced mediator familiar with the DBA, to help the parties reach a settlement.
Everyone wants their day in court. Some cases, especially those in which benefits have been completely denied, must be litigated. Unfortunately, the process before the Department of Labor is extraordinarily slow. Sometimes, an injured worker will choose to settle his case, rather than wait a long period of time for his case comes up for hearing. Right now there is a shortage of Administrative Law Judges to hear cases. These Judges will often travel to different locations throughout the country when several hearings are on the docket. However, if some or all hearings are settled or dismissed, they may cancel the remaining hearings to preserve resources. With our Atlanta DBA attorneys as your legal counsel, we can advise you as to whether your best option is to litigate your case, or whether settlement is an option.