How Does Mediation Work?
Oct 15, 2022 | CHASENBOSCOLO
In the world of personal injury law, going to trial is a relatively rare occurrence. More than nine in ten personal injury cases are settled out of court because it is usually in everyone’s best interest to avoid going before a judge and jury. However, initial negotiations between personal injury lawyers and insurance companies do not always end neatly with a settlement that both parties find acceptable. As a result, one measure the parties can attempt is a mediation session. Read on to find out more about how mediation works in personal injury cases.
What Is Mediation in a Lawsuit?
Mediation is an informal process that is aimed at resolving a dispute. In a personal injury lawsuit, the mediation session involves bringing in a neutral third party (the “mediator”) who can encourage the plaintiff and the defendant to reach a settlement agreement that works for both sides.
In general, mediators are attorneys or retired judges with training in alternative dispute resolution methods. The mediator may be court appointed, or the parties may agree upon one between themselves.
The mediator does not hand down a legally binding order or a verdict as a judge or jury would. Instead, they facilitate a constructive conversation between the parties by taking them through their legal and factual issues.
One reason to consider mediation as a means of resolving your claim is that it can save a great deal of time and money. Furthermore, it can offer a less antagonistic and more creative way of addressing the differences between the two parties. Understanding what happens during mediation can help you decide whether the process may benefit your claim.
What Happens During Mediation?
Once a mediator has been appointed or selected, the parties involved must schedule a mutually agreeable time and date for the session. It will usually take place at the mediator’s office or in another neutral location, where they will outline the rules and expectations of the session. You can expect the setup to be more like an informal discussion than a formal courtroom proceeding.
Following the introductory statements, each party will have an opportunity to present its position. It is usually best to allow your attorney to speak on your behalf in this session so that you will not inadvertently admit any degree of fault. However, you will be able to talk with your lawyer before the session to voice how you would like the issues to be presented.
You will then move into breakout sessions with the mediator in private rooms. The mediator will offer each side their unbiased opinion of the case’s value based on their own legal experience and insight. Each side will also have the opportunity to present their side of the situation, after which the mediator will attempt to find common ground and assess whether any aspects of the dispute have a chance of being settled. This part of the session may last several hours as the mediator goes back and forth to discuss various options with each party.
Eventually, the mediator may offer an opportunity to reach an agreement. While the resolution may not be ideal for each party, the goal is to find one that both sides can find acceptable. Once they agree to a compromised resolution, the parties can follow up with a settlement agreement.
The Importance of a Skilled Attorney
While mediation sessions are designed to be less adversarial than a courtroom, a few formal rules are in place to ensure that the proceedings are fair to both parties. This is one of the reasons it is essential to have an attorney who will aggressively defend your interests, even outside the courtroom context.
Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Today
If you have been injured in an accident that was not your fault, you deserve compensation for your losses. The experienced and skilled personal injury attorneys of CHASENBOSCOLO can work diligently on your behalf so that you have the optimal chance of recovering the full and fair compensation you deserve.
We are ready to represent you at every stage of the claims process, from negotiations to mediation to a courtroom trial. We are trusted by thousands across Washington D.C., Virginia, and Maryland, and we look forward to serving you too.
Call us today at (301) 220-0050 or contact us online for a free consultation.