Few people know what they do, but without them the Department of Industrial Accidents couldn’t efficiently settle worker’s compensation disputes. They are called conciliators– employees trained in mediation who help resolve almost half of all worker’s compensation disputes.
The conciliator is the first person the worker and the insurer see to settle their differences over a claim. The conciliator’s goal is to get the parties to resolve their differences before the dispute goes into the formal process for adjudication which can take more time and expense to settle for both parties. The conciliators’ job is to review documentation both parties submit to support their positions. Often times, that means keeping the case schedule flexible in order to give both parties time to collect adequate documentation of their claims. While conciliators can encourage the parties to work out a settlement, they cannot impose a resolution.
Nevertheless, conciliators have been successful in mediating agreements. Last year, workers or insurers filed 12,799 cases with the DIA. Almost all of these cases were scheduled for conciliation. DIA conciliators helped settle 5,873 cases or 46% of the cases that came their way.
DIA conciliators provide a tremendous service by reducing the number of cases that go before an Administrative Judge at conference. Disputes are settled quicker allowing DIA to handle cases more efficiently.
To learn more about conciliation and the dispute resolution process, please visit us at http://www.mass.gov/dia
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