How are formal dispute procedures started?
Most often formal disputes are started when a worker files an Application for Mediation or Hearing, Form WC-104A, or the employer/insurance carrier files an Application for Mediation or Hearing Form WC-104-C. These forms are available on the Agency website. When the application is received by the agency, it is sent to or "served upon" the appropriate and relevant parties indicating a date, time and location of a “pre-trial” with a workers’ compensation magistrate. Depending on the certain factors, the case may be scheduled first with a mediator to try to resolve the issues prior to sending to a magistrate.
Can a worker sue for damages other than workers' compensation?
In most cases, a claim under the Workers' Disability Compensation Act is considered to be the injured worker's "exclusive remedy" against their employer. This means that the individual injured at work can only receive workers' compensation benefits and cannot sue for other damages. This is provided for in Section 131 of the Act. There are a few exceptions to this rule, such as in cases where the employer was uninsured.