There is more than one way of resolving a personal injury dispute aside from going to court. Rather than going to court or before going to court, you can opt for an alternative dispute resolution process such as mediation. What is personal injury mediation? It is an alternative dispute resolution process whereby a third party that is required to be neutral acts as the mediator. The mediator or third party is involved in facilitating discussions between the individuals who are involved in the lawsuit that is the plaintiff and the accused. For this legal process to work it is important for both parties to consent to mediation as an alternative dispute resolution process.
When you go to trial, the trial process is formal. However, the mediation process is different in that it is an informal process. Most of the time during the personal injury mediation process you will notice that plaintiffs and their lawyers will be in one room while insurance adjusters and the defense counsel will stay in another room. To communicate with all of the involved parties the mediator will move from one room to another. They do this in the hope of getting the involved parties to reach a common ground. If the parties are able to resolve the dispute in mediation and do not have to go to trial the mediation process is successful.
Who Will Act As The Mediator During the Process?
The mediation process is voluntary and for this reason, the defense attorney and your attorney will be able to choose the mediator that they are going to choose for the mediation process. Most of the time retired judges and lawyers that run a private mediation practice act as mediators. It is possible for private attorney mediators to either be on their own or to be part of a dispute resolution group.
Both attorneys are supposed to know the mediator. Even so, it is important for you to pick a mediator that the insurance adjuster and defense attorney will trust and listen to while the negotiations are ongoing. It is important for the respected mediator to ensure that they carry out the negotiation process in a fair manner.
As the offended party, you would want to have an attorney that will not hold back in telling the defense about the positives of your case. It is important for the defense to view the mediator as credible. The credibility of the mediator will play a big part in how the defense will react when they tell them to pay a big amount of money as a settlement for your case. When you choose a mediator that supports you but whom the defense does not trust or find to be credible the case will not work in your favor.
What Happens at Personal Injury Mediation
As a plaintiff, you and the lawyer representing you will stay in a separate room from the defense lawyer and the defendant. The insurance claims adjuster sent by the insurance company will stay in the same room with the defense attorney. An insurance adjuster plays an important part in the mediation process as they will determine how much will be paid to you when settling your claim. During the informal negotiations, the mediator will have the task of moving from one room to another to discuss the case with all of the involved parties until a resolution is found, and if none is found it may be necessary to go to court.
Most of the time your attorney and mediator will have discussions or talks when you are not present or away from you. They will do this in the case where it is necessary for them to be completely honest about the negatives and the positives of your case particularly when the defense side relays negative information concerning you.
Currently, due to covid-19, it is possible to carry out the mediation via Zoom, Skype, or other video software. Even if all of the parties may not be present in one location the process still remains the same. The personal injury mediator will still need to converse with the defense and the at fault party in a separate virtual room from you.
The role that you will play during mediation settlement discussions will be limited. Most of the time during the mediation process the injured person will not be required to interact with the defense side. Even as this is the case an experienced mediator will meet you at the beginning of the mediation process and spend a few minutes with you. They will do this so they can know you and evaluate the kind of witness you will be. Also, there are times when the insurance adjuster may prefer to meet briefly with you. Your Chicago personal injury lawyer should prepare you for both meetings.
There are instances where the mediator will find it necessary to bring in all of the parties involved in the same room so you can all have a joint session. In the case where this happens, your attorney will prepare you for the joint session so nothing catches you by surprise during the joint meeting.
It is important for all parties involved to sign a confidentiality agreement before the process of mediation begins.
The Benefits of Mediation in a Personal Injury Lawsuit
When you are in a situation where you had reached a dead end with the insurance representative a settlement negotiation can be a way to break the stalemate. When you are able to sit in the same room with the insurance adjuster they are able to see you as more than a document on their desk. They will be able to put a human face on the individual filing the claim
Mediation as a process is far cheaper, easier, and quicker to resolve compared to other alternatives such as going to court.
The Downside of Mediation in a Personal Injury Claim
Even though mediation has its advantages there are also cons to mediation that you may encounter during the process. Most of the time mediation is supposed to last a few hours. Even as this is the case those few hours can be expensive in the case where a professional mediator has been used. It may be impossible to get the services of inexpensive mediator services in the community that has experience handling mediation cases.
Getting an insurance adjuster to agree to use mediation as an alternative dispute resolution process can be difficult. This is because of all of the extra work that the process requires such as showing up for the mediation agreement.
We Can Help with Mediation
At Chicago Car Accident Lawyers our personal injury attorney is ready to represent you during the mediation process. We will prepare you for the mediation session by offering you legal advice and using our sophisticated negotiation strategies to get you favorable results. Also, we want to find out about any umbrella insurance policy since it can be beneficial to you. In some cases, personal injury mediation works but we are always ready to aggressively fight for you if we don't find success in mediation.
We have represented clients filing claims against insurance companies during mediation with severe injuries and have used our advanced mediation tactics to get them a great outcome. However, if the defense does not agree to a fair settlement, which means the alternative dispute resolution method did not work we are ready to take you to represent you in court and get you the settlement agreement you deserve as an injured party.