When two or more parties are in dispute mediation works in a way to help them come together and find a solution. They talk about the concerns and the issues that they have in the presence of a mediator. During mediation, a mediator’s role is not to decide who is wrong or right. Also, they are not allowed to tell the parties involved how to solve the dispute. Mediation is about finding a solution that makes sense to both parties involved in the mediation process.
When parties go into mediation they want to be able to come to an agreement. However, it doesn’t always go that way and when that happens an individual may need an experienced car accident attorney to represent them in a personal injury claim. Individual emotions and insurance companies not wanting to give a fair settlement can make coming to a final consensus challenging.
The court can impose a court-ordered mediation as an alternative dispute resolution or the personal injury mediation can be carried out voluntarily by both parties. During a mediation session, you will not need to present witnesses or testify under oath. The insurance company and the affected party will discuss the details of the lawsuit and offers will be made with the help of a third party. If you are going to go to personal injury mediation you may be wondering what to expect from the session.
What to Expect at Mediation
A successful mediation process is one where both parties are able to agree and everyone ends up satisfied with the final decision. An unsuccessful accident mediation is one where both parties do not result in having a settlement agreement. Most of the mediations that are unsuccessful fail because individuals are not prepared and do not know what to expect. Here are some of the things that you should expect when personal injury lawsuits find a resolution through mediation.
Opposing Statements from the Defendant's Side That You Don’t Agree With
Most personal injury mediations start with the at-fault party, the plaintiffs, and their lawyers gathering in a conference room and making opening statements. When it comes to the sitting arrangement you and your lawyer will sit at one side and the opposing side will sit at another table. The mediator who is the neutral party will sit at the head table. During the mediation process, your attorney will make statements about your case and support your side. After, the defense attorney will then make statements that will challenge the facts and views that concern your crash claim.
In the Beginning Parties Will Be Far Apart
When the mediation process starts you can expect that low settlement figures will be made by the defendant’s side. You can expect that some of the offers that will be made by the defense lawyer will be too incredibly low to even consider. Also, your lawyer may start by stating an incredibly high rate and the defense does expect that. As with any other process personal mediation requires patience. You may start at a point where no one is on the same page and so it is important for you to concentrate on how the outcome so you can be able to endure the process.
The Process Can Be Lengthy
A mediation agreement that ends up being successful can take a whole day or hours. The reason why mediation can take this long is that the private mediator has to meet up with both sides on separate occasions to get their side of things regarding the case. You can expect there to be back-and-forth offers and settlement demands between both parties.
Expect to Make a Compromise
The only way mediation will work is if there is compromise. For you to be able to have an agreement at mediation on a settlement you must be willing to make compromises that are fair and reasonable. If neither party is willing to have common ground you can expect that the accident claim will end up in court.
The Mediator Will Not Pick a Side
The mediator’s concern is the settlement. They are not your attorney and so do not expect them to support you. In order for a mediator to be able to successfully mediate a settlement, they can choose any side. The mediator has to remain to be a neutral party and they need to be fair to both sides. They cannot pick one side over the other or decide who is right or wrong they will remain the neutral person until the process is over.
What Happens Before Mediation
Most experienced personal injury lawyers will meet with their clients for at least one hour before mediation starts so that they can go over the details of the case. They also explain to their clients the process of personal injury mediation and prepare them for what to expect. Depending on the complexity of the case our meeting before mediation can last a few hours.
The mediator will start by introducing everybody that is attending mediation and mention what their roles are in the process. A defense attorney and the claims adjuster will be present from the defendant’s side.
There are times when people will not want to identify themselves during mediation. When this happens it is mostly because there is an umbrella insurance policy beyond the basic insurance policy that the defendant has. The individuals show up at mediation to hear what the case is about. Also, they want to see and meet the individual who has been injured together with the lawyer representing them. By doing this they will be able to estimate the jury’s actions if they do go to trial.
Before the mediation process begins, a confidentiality agreement is signed by everyone. This allows parties to agree or admit to things they normally would not do during the trial. After signing the agreement is signed individuals don’t have to worry about saying anything that will be used against them during trial. During mediation, the opposing side can admit to fault but fight fault when the case proceeds to trial.
Advantages to Mediation
Each Personal injury claim is different and the outcomes for mediation will vary. Some cases will have success in mediation and some will proceed to litigation. Here are some of the advantages of mediation.
You Will Save Time and Money
Mediation will definitely cost you less than litigation. When you go to litigation you will need to bring in expert witnesses, depositions costs, and subpoena fees. With mediation, you will not have to pay for all of this and it will save you and your attorney money.
Court proceedings can last months or even years. However, the mediation process will last hours or even a day and a resolution will be found.
Parties Involved Will Retain Control
Everyone involved in the mediation proceedings participates actively hence giving them more control. As opposed to courts where rulings are made the mediation process allows both parties to make suggestions.
The Plaintiff Is Humanized
During informal negotiations, the insurance adjuster gets to meet the plaintiff for the first time. Meeting you will mean that you are no longer just a paper on the desk they will see you as human and put a face to a name.
An Opportunity to Gain a Better Understanding of What Caused the Incidence/Accident to Occur
During an actual mediation conference, a conversation between the defendant’s side and the plaintiff’s side occurs. The defendant can be able to explain why the accident occurred. Maybe they were distracted or they will mention other circumstances that led to the accident. Once a cause has been established both parties involved in the voluntary process can work towards finding a resolution.
What You Have Agreed upon During Mediation Is Sure Instead of Gambling with Judges Decision
When you are able to resolve your case in private meetings you avoid gambling with what the court or judge will decide about your case during a formal process. The final decision during a legal battle in court will be made by a jury or judge. You are never certain about the decision that the court or judge makes. Even so, you are bound to that decision whether you find it to be an acceptable resolution or not. The parties involved have control over the agreement in mediation.
How to Prepare for Mediation
If you are going in for mediation here are some things that you can do to help you prepare for mediation.
Get Legal Advice
A mediator will not provide legal advice to any of the parties going through mediation. If you choose to go into mediation by yourself but would like to get information about your case like for example how much how your case is worth or what you should expect as a great settlement. So you can make a decision about your settlement based on legal knowledge contact a personal injury attorney.
Get to the Mediation Prepared
Get to the mediation on time. Be ready to talk to the other party during mediation. Even if you were unable to have a conversation before, the presence of a mediator will make it easier for you to communicate. Find out about the building that you will be going to for mediation and learn about the security measures that they have in place.
Arrange for Someone to Take Care of Your Kids If You Have Any
Most of the time courts and mediation meeting areas do not have anyone present who can take care of kids and kids are not allowed in mediation. If you happen to have kids that need to be taken care of you should take care of hiring someone to do that in advance.
Other important to keep in mind as you prepare for mediation;
Be attentive and listen carefully during the negotiation
Do not show any emotion during the mediation despite the negative feelings you may have
Write down what you feel is most important about your case or what you feel is most important to talk about
Carry with you critical evidence that concerns your case
Dress as if you are going to an interview
Our Chicago car accident lawyers can help you get fair compensation during a personal injury claim. We have the experience, we have had a high success rate with a wide range of similar cases, and we are ready to help. Call us and schedule a no-obligation case evaluation session at (312) 300-2515.