First, there are two kinds of mediation under the Pennsylvania workers’ comp law- mandatory and voluntary. At the first hearing on a petition, the workers compensation judge will schedule the matter for a mandatory mediation unless deemed futile. A mediation can be deemed futile in various circumstances- a common one is that the attorney for the insurer/employer has no authority to settle the case.
However, the parties can agree to a voluntary mediation with a workman’s compensation judge at any time- whether a petition is pending or not. This allows the parties to choose which particular judge they want to mediate the case.