HOW MANY PIECES ARE THERE TO THE SETTLEMENT PUZZLE?   Answer:  Probably more than you think. The more issues there are in a negotiation, the greater the opportunity for give and take across issues. This adds flexibility for parties to shape a settlement acceptable to all. Trading across issues in negotiation is called “logrolling.”Every case has its own […]


1) Mediation Works.  In one study, 61 percent of workers compensation mediations resulted in total resolution of the disputed issues. 2) Mediation is fast- no waiting for a hearing date on an overcrowded court schedule. 3) Take as much time as you need- no rush to finish within a half-day window at the WCAB. 4) Mediation […]

Settlement Ethics

Ethics are the moral principles that govern behavior. Every workers compensation professional has ethical rules to follow. For attorneys, these are spelled out in Codes of Professional Responsibility, statutes and sometimes case law. Despite some differences among the states, the basic principles governing settlement ethics are mostly the same Duty to Communicate to the Client […]

Why Mediation Is Like Sex

YOU THOUGHT MEDIATION AND SEX HAD NOTHING IN COMMON?NOT SO!   Both mediation and sex should: Happen between persons committed to the process as an essential part of the big picture Occur with appropriate frequency Stimulate participants to contribute their best selves Continue until mutual satisfaction Make participants feel better at conclusion Empower parties to […]

Six Biggest Mediation Misconceptions

The Mediator might rule against me. Mediators do not make any rulings. The role of the mediator is to help the parties resolve the issues.   If I go to mediation, I will have to give up something. Negotiation is about compromise. Each side usually gives up something. You won’t give up anything unless you, and only you, […]

Do You Speak MSA?

“MSA” stands for Medicare Set-Aside.  Settling a Workers Compensation claim often calls for consideration of Medicare’s interests.  MSA-speak has its own language.  The problem is that the term “MSA” is used to mean different things.  Understanding the 4 different items which may be referred to as “MSA” is critical to success in this area: MSA […]

Understanding Public Income and Medical Benefits after the Affordable Care Act

There’s a lot more to the Affordable Care Act than buying private health insurance through an exchange marketplace like Four kinds of public benefits can help people get the medical care they need: Subsidized premiums and co-pays for private health insurance purchased through an exchange.  Commercial insurers issue these policies, not the government. Medicare, […]

The Elephant in the Room

Sometimes the issues the lawyers and adjusters are discussing are not what is most important to the Applicant. Recently, in a pretty small case, the professionals told me the disagreements were about what had been paid and what was still due. The injured worker told me his biggest concern was that, although he had returned […]