The Division of Admin Hearings has posted proposed changes to the “Q-Rules” of WC Procedure for comment. Most of the changes have to do with the way that mandatory state mediations will be conducted in Florida.
Within 130 days of the filing a Petition For Benefits, the state requires a mandatory state mediation. For the past several months, all state mediations have been virtual by Zoom rather than phone, but these proposed rules codify the process in the rules. Some key points:
- State mediations are presumptively to be conducted virtually on a video platform (Zoom is the current program being used)
- Judges may conduct proceedings and trials virtually at their discretion.
- Any party can request a live mediation
- Adjusters, if represented by a defense attorney, may attend the live or video mediation by phone unless the claimant objects and shows good cause
- Digital signature software may be used for mediation agreements
- Any party appearing virtually stipulates to be bound by their attorney’s signature and cannot object to enforceability of a mediation agreement based on the mediation being virtual.
I am glad they are including that last point, as it was a concern that we would see more attempts to back out of agreements.
Here is a link to the full text of the proposed changes, click on View Notice. And you can submit any comments (not to me 😊) to DOAH on the pages as well till 1/11/23.
I will let everyone know if and when these changes are approved.
Morgan Indek | Managing Partner