Now, more than ever before, personal injury attorneys and insurance companies look to mediation and other alternative dispute resolution methods to resolve personal injury claims. In fact, our team here at White & Associates will turn to personal injury mediation as part of our overall strategy for resolving our clients’ claims.
What You Should Know About Personal Injury Mediation
It’s important to understand that every mediation session is unique. This is due to many factors. For instance, different mediators have different styles.
The mediation process generally starts with you and your attorney talking with the mediator in the presence of the other party. In personal injury cases, the other party is typically the attorney representing the negligent driver’s insurance company. You will also get a chance to talk directly to the other party and to speak alone with the mediator.
Mediation Can Take Some Time
The mediator will then use the information he or she gathers to help you and the other party reach an agreement, which can take some time. It’s common for mediation sessions to take anywhere from a few hours to a full day. Some mediation sessions can even take multiple sessions over a few days as the parties make offers and counteroffers.
These sessions often take time due to the fact that both parties often begin mediation with very different perspectives. For example, the negligent driver’s insurance company might begin the mediation with a low settlement offer. The process, however, should help the insurance company come to better understand the strengths of your case so that you can reach a fair agreement.
You Will Have the Final Say
You have the final say in what happens during mediation. In fact, your primary purpose for being there is to decide whether you are happy enough with the agreement to settle your case. While your lawyer will advise you about what’s best, settlement is always your decision.
Don’t Be Nervous
Many people get nervous about personal injury mediation. They worry that they will have to testify in front of the mediator. They don’t want to have to confront the other party. They don’t want to have to retell every part of exactly what happened.
Don’t worry; in mediation you do not have to do these things. Unlike trial, there are no winners or losers in mediation. No legal issues will be decided. You will either reach an agreement or you won’t. If you do not reach an agreement in mediation, you and your attorney can still proceed to trial to protect your rights. Regardless of whether you reach a settlement in mediation or you choose to pursue fair compensation at trial, your attorney will be with you through the entire process so that you never have to face the legal system alone.