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(1) As set forth in 39-71-105 and 39-71-2406 , MCA, it is the purpose of the mediation process to facilitate resolution of disputes as early as possible, and it is the general purpose of the Workers' Compensation Act to allow claimants who wish to proceed without an attorney to do so. When claimants are represented in mediation by legal counsel, it is assumed by the mediator that counsel is aware of what must be done to meet settlement and mediation requirements, and how to meet those requirements. Accordingly, the mediator shall hold them to that standard in determining whether the settlement requirements have been met and whether they are cooperating with the mediation process. It is also assumed that insurer's agents, even though they may not be licensed attorneys, work in the area of workers' compensation regularly and are versed in the workers' compensation laws and procedures. However, most claimants who choose to represent themselves are not assumed to be knowledgeable about the workers' compensation system. In order to provide a process where it is reasonable for a claimant to be self-represented, the mediator's and department's role shall be to make efforts to assist unrepresented claimants in meeting information and settlement requirements. The mediator, while doing this, must also maintain neutrality regarding the issues. Nothing herein is intended to discourage claimants from seeking legal counsel if they so choose. The intent is simply to avoid a situation where legal counsel is necessary to resolve routine disputes.

History: Sec. 39-71-2407 MCA; IMP, Sec. 39-71-2411 MCA; NEW, 1987 MAR p. 890, Eff. 6/26/87; AMD, 1995 MAR p. 2818, Eff. 1/1/96.

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