Experienced Senior Mediator Gets the Job Done!

Retired Commissioner Bill Dudley is an especial favorite amongst the ABRAMS LANDAU Workers Comp Team, as he is usually successful in getting difficult, permanent injury compensation cases settled at Mediation. (Shown, from L->R: Beatriz Vargas, Racquel Vargas & Lisa Goldman, who were attending the VWC Centennial Gala in Richmond)

Former Full Commissioner William “Bill” Dudley has become one of the most sought after Mediators to help injured workers, employers and insurance companies settle difficult, permanent disability cases. Because he was an experienced insurance defense lawyer, and then served as a Deputy Commissioner (akin to a workers’ comp trial judge) before assuming the appellate bench, he can give wise counsel as to the outcome of a particular claim; whether a decision will hold up on appeal; and what other settlements in similar cases have been. The ABRAMS LANDAU team admires the fact that Bill Dudley “Walks the Walk, as well as Talking the Talk.” Commissioner Dudley has been the Mediator on a number of cases handled successfully by the Law Shop Workers’ Comp team.

In a recent case, the claimant was injured when a stack of metal paneling fell over onto him. This worker sustained a broken right leg, left knee and back injuries. He underwent several operations for right tibia and fibula (the bones of the lower leg) fractures and the knee injury over one and a half years. Temporary Total Disability benefits for complete wage loss had been paid. The claimant had been released to light duty work at the time the parties voluntarily agreed to submit the case for Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR).  The Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission’s ADR services are FREE of charge, and can be “Issue Mediation” or “Full & Final Settlement Mediation.” The parties in this case opted for the latter form of ADR, as the case was mature; the claimant was released to selective duty and the surgical procedures had been performed, such that he was no longer in “the acute phase” of his medical treatment.

Virginia Workers Compensation Commission Hearing room at the VWC Headquarters, in Richmond, Virginia

As the result of this automotive worker’s broken right leg, left knee and back claims, the parties were able to successfully mediate a settlement in the gross amount of $250,000 with Roanoke counsel.  Normally, once the parties come to an agreement, the insurance defense counsel will submit settlement documents to claimant’s counsel for review, completion and signature. Then, once ALL of the documents are finished, the packet is electronically filed with the VWC in Richmond, for review by a special judge.

The Virginia Workers’ Compensation law requires that this judge make the specific finding that the compromise settlement is in the best interests of the injured worker. This process sometimes takes several months, as this judge must review the file. In many Landau Law Shop cases, this file can be many hundreds of pages because of the permanent nature of the injuries, the number of surgeries, and/or the several Hearings that may have taken place during the litigation. If the claimant is under the protection of an open Award, then weekly wage loss benefits continue. If the disabled worker is not under the protection of an open Award, then they have to wait, sometimes for many weeks, until they get their net settlement check.

If you or someone you know has been injured as the result of an accident on the job or while working off site, and there are questions about what laws apply and what to do, please call us right away at 703-796-9555, or e-mail us at FrontDesk@LandauLawShop.com, as there are strict legal deadlines that can derail an otherwise winnable workers’ compensation case.