This article on setting California Workers Comp Status conferences definitely applies to Workers’ Compensation claims at the WCAB level. However, I think that the technique could be useful in other jurisdictions so use your own judgment and apply the techniques as they apply to your business.
Have you ever been frustrated with a case that just seems to be going nowhere? Do you have a case that is ready to settle, but can’t get a hold of opposing counsel? Do you work in a busy California WCAB venue, or another venue that allows the setting of
If the answers to any of these questions are “yes”, then I think this tidbit of information would be helpful to you. Having worked in our industry for 16 years now, with 15 years of that being adjusting claims, I know that in our industry, everyone is busy on a daily basis.
From phone calls to emails to faxes, the days just go by so fast. Many times, co-defense or counsel for the opposing side are just simply busy at hearings.
So my tip to get the communication going again, and to move the case along when you are trying to settle is to set a “Status Conference”.
This type of conference does not trigger closure of discovery, but it does basically “force” the parties to appear at the WCAB and discuss the case. Make sure your counsel is prepared for the hearing, and that you have given them benefit printouts, current medical reports and proper settlement authority.
Be sure to make an offer at the hearing for settlement based on the evidence at hand in the case. Make the offer in writing, thus “requiring” that counsel shows it to their client.
Please consider any unresolved factors like EDD liens, Retro Temporary Disability or additional body parts in your valuation of the settlement.
More often than not, when I use this approach, we settle the case faster. If not, then at least we have a solid plan and usually a counter demand (to get authority for if needed to get closer to settlement).
Now move forth and use this technique. But of course listen to the advice of your counsel as they usually know the venues and judges pretty well!
An excerpt from “Setting Status Conferences” (The Work Comp Diaries by Dean Sultani).