Mandatory Settlement Conferences
A mandatory settlement conference, or MSC, is a type of hearing held at a California Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) field office. This hearing will be held in the county in which you live or in the county in which you were injured. Presided over by a workers’ compensation law judge, this hearing will be held to try to resolve a dispute regarding a denied workers’ compensation claim. The judge will attempt to help both parties (the injured worker and the claims administrator) reach a settlement.
Mandatory settlement conferences are an important part of the workers’ compensation process in California. The proper presentation of your case is crucial, as is full preparation to go to trial if a settlement cannot be reached. Working with a competent workers’ comp attorney can help you seek a fair and favorable result. At Pacific Attorney Group, we have more than 35 years of combined legal experience to help our clients at their hearings, trials and appeals. We represent workers in LA and the surrounding areas.
What happens at a workers’ comp hearing?
As is evident by its name, a mandatory settlement conference is required prior to a workers’ compensation trial to try to get disputing parties to reach a settlement. At this hearing, you (or your attorney) and your claims administrator (or their attorney) will appear before the workers’ compensation law judge. You will discuss your case and try to reach an agreement. If you reach a settlement, the judge must approve it.
If you are unable to reach an agreement at a mandatory settlement conference, the case will go to trial. Your workers’ comp attorney and the defense attorney will need to fill out paperwork that describes what issues have been agreed upon and what issues will need to be decided on during the trial. Both parties will also need to list out witnesses and exhibits that will be presented at the trial. This is the “discovery” phase of the case and must be completed at the mandatory settlement conference. No new witnesses or exhibits may be added after this list is given to the judge.
Preparing for a Mandatory Settlement Conference
Preparation for a mandatory settlement conference is crucial, not only because it is important to seek a fair settlement but because witnesses and evidence for the trial must be laid out at this hearing if the case is not resolved. A careful review and investigation of your claim and preparation of documents can help your attorney seek a fair settlement at your hearing – and lay the groundwork for your trial if that is the only way to seek a favorable resolution.
For more information and insight, contact a workers’ comp attorney.
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