Virginia has successfully tested the first video, or virtual, Mediation! Herndon injury law firm Abrams Landau, Ltd. was asked to be the “guinea pig” test subjects for this Alternate Dispute Resolution (“ADR”) process. Initially, this FREE workers’ compensation Mediation for our disabled client was supposed to be in-person at the Workers Compensation Commission (“VWC”) Northern Virginia Division in Manassas. The VWC provides this FREE service in order to promote the resolution of cases, or parts of cases, and thereby free up the trial judges to hear disputed and denied cases that require witness testimony.
However, due to COVID-19, the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission (“VWC”) offices have closed. On April 21st, the Commission began converting all Hearings that were scheduled to be held from May 1 through June 10 to video Hearings. New Hearing Notices have been issued in all of those cases.
Mediations, or Alternate Dispute Resolutions, are sometimes the preferred method to resolving a case. They are FREE of charge to the parties and resolve over 80% of cases. In other words, according to the VWC Mediators, 4 out of every 5 workers comp claims that go through the Mediation settlement process are resolved. The Abrams Landau law team has found that clients, their families and witnesses have positive things to say about the VWC’s ADR process. It is face-to-face and the strict rules of courtroom evidence are not followed.
Using the “WebEx” video calling program, attorney Doug Landau was able to hold a successful Mediation virtually for his client. The online program is free to download. There were two judges participating—a senior retired judge and a judge who is also in charge of the Alternate Dispute Resolution Division of the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission. The case settled and settlement papers were in hand the next day! The senior judge advised Landau that the lump sum settlement would be approved within 14 days. The VWC will start scheduling other Hearings and Mediations soon based upon our success.
So, even with the Coronavirus lockdown, things are still moving, and the VWC is moving forward with new technology to help injured workers and their families. The injury law team at Abrams Landau continues to work at full capacity to help our injured clients get the compensation, medical care and help they need.