Personal injury cases are often emotionally and physically demanding on both sides, requiring everyone to consult with attorneys and invest significant mental energy. There are multiple ways to resolve personal injury cases that do not involve going to court, and mediation is one solution you may consider. Mediation avoids many of the downsides of going to court while offering you a chance to advocate for yourself.
How Mediation Works
Mediation is a non-adversarial process that is completely voluntary for everyone involved. Rather than both sides negotiating directly with the help of attorneys, they are helped along in the process by a neutral third party trained in mediation. The presence of a third party is often enough to prevent disputes, limit misunderstandings between the parties, and give everyone a chance to understand the facts of the case. Mediation has long been used in business disputes, family law, and other areas of law, and it has recently become more widely used in personal injury claims.
Once you and your attorney have decided on mediation—or it’s been ordered by the court—you’ll move forward with choosing a mediator. Both sides must agree on the mediator. Each side will give an opening statement, summing up their case and their grievances with the other party.
From there, the mediator will discuss privately with both parties and their legal representation. The mediator aims to understand what each side hopes to get from mediation. The parties can speak freely with the mediator at this point, as they cannot give this information to the other side without express permission.
The mediator will then assist in negotiations. Hopefully, each round of negotiations will bring you closer to a compromise that both parties can accept. In some situations, the parties will meet up for a joint session to discuss resolution options.
If an agreement is reached, the mediator will draft the legal agreement for both parties to sign. This settles the case and allows parties to move forward. If the parties cannot reach an agreement or either party withdraws, the case will go to court.
The Benefits of Mediation
The mediation process offers both plaintiffs and defendants a number of benefits. You may feel overwhelmed by your claim, the injuries you’ve suffered, and the uphill battle to get compensation. This often makes it hard to advocate for yourself and be crystal-clear in your communication. A mediator can help both sides communicate clearly and eliminate misunderstandings. The process is more cost-effective than going to court, saving both parties legal fees and court costs.
Mediation also provides much quicker resolutions than court cases do. Court cases can easily drag on for months. In the meantime, the accident victim has bills piling up, no money coming in, and panic setting in. This can protect you from accepting a lowball settlement just to get your bills covered.
Those who choose mediation enjoy more control over the outcomes and privacy. When a case goes to court, you have no control over the final verdict. Both sides present the strongest case they can, and from there, it’s in the hands of the judge or jury. With mediation, you can decide where you’re willing to compromise and how much you want to risk. Additionally, since mediation results in a settlement agreement, it is much more private than a court case.
One benefit of mediation that isn’t always discussed is the fact that it allows you to preserve relationships with people close to you. This sometimes comes into play with personal injury claims. If the person at fault for your injuries is a friend, family member, or colleague, taking your case to court could ruin your relationship. Mediation may be swift and mutually beneficial enough to allow you to maintain your positive relationship with the other party.
Even if you choose mediation, you should work with a personal injury attorney you trust. You must know what you’re giving up with each potential settlement agreement, and your attorney can ensure that you don’t fall prey to an insulting settlement offer.
Start Your Claim Now with Kingbird Legal
Ready to explore your legal options after a personal injury? Call the team at Kingbird Legal at 484-289-4880 or connect with us online.