What is Mediation?
Mediation is popular dispute-resolution process that results in personal injury settlements. In short, mediation is a meeting between parties for the purpose of negotiating a resolution. While lawyers are very familiar mediation process, many personal injury victims are not. Below provide a broad overview of what mediation is.
Why Do Mediations Occur?
Mediations are ultimately held to resolve a lawsuit. The ultimate goal in personal injury claims is to recover compensation for injury victims. One method to recover compensation is to allow a judge or jury to decide the claim. However, the legal process for judges or juries to decide claim can be a lengthy and arduous process. For example, some courts schedule trials to occur two or more years after filing a lawsuit. Additionally, predicting a judge’s or jury’s decision could be costly and a gamble. Therefore, parties often agreed to mediate and attempt to resolve a lawsuit. Ultimately, if a matter settle that mediation then a lawsuit settles with finality. The benefit of mediation is that the parties know the exact amount of money that resolves the lawsuit. Specifically, it removes the gamble aspect of proceeding of lawsuit before a judge or jury.
Who Conducts the Mediation?
Third-party neutrals conduct mediations. Commonly, mediators are active judges, retired judges, or private attorneys who specialize in mediations. Many superior courts implemented mediation policies that allow sitting judges to mediate matters. There are also many private attorneys who dedicate their practice to mediating matters. These attorneys often have certifications in alternative dispute resolutions, particular training in negotiation skills, and significant knowledge in resolving matters.
The parties involved in the lawsuit select the mediator. There are particular mediators who specialize in specific areas of law. Therefore, parties must select the mediator familiar with particular lot issued. For example, in personal injury lawsuits, parties should select attorneys who have mediated personal injury claims.
Before COVID-19, mediations were held in person at the mediator’s office. Typically, the mediator would seat all parties and their own separate rooms. Then, the mediator moved back and forth between rooms to try to resolve the lawsuit. More recently, mediations are commonly held remotely, via Zoom or other video conferencing software.
What is Discussed at a Mediation?
The ultimate goal of mediation is to resolve the lawsuit. Injury victims seek to maximize the amount of money offered and defense attorneys seek to limit the amount of money offered. The mediator seeks to resolve the lawsuit by making both sides agree to a number. The mediator achieves this through multiple negotiation tactics. The most common tactic of mediator uses is to address the weaknesses and risks in each side’s position. For example, a mediator may highlight issues in liability arguments or miscalculation of potential damages. The mediator generally employs these tactics so that personal injury victim would demand less money and the defense increases their offers. While each mediation is unique in its process, the mediator ultimately communicates back and forth with parties to try to resolve lawsuit
If a matter does not settle at mediation, then the matter continues. It is still possible to mediate again in the future because there are no limits on the amount of mediations. Sometimes matters resolve after several mediation sessions.
How to prepare for a Mediation?
To resolve a lawsuit at mediation, all parties should be prepared. Before mediation, the parties should understand the strengths and weaknesses of their case by analyzing all of the fact that the disposal. Before most mediations, each party shares a brief that outlines the respective arguments. The brief is often shared with both the mediator and the opposing side.
Considering the complexity of most personal injury claims, it behooves all parties to be represented by attorneys. Attorneys understand the evidentiary issues that could affect lawsuit and how to best position a claim at mediation.
Anderson Franco has mediated many civil cases on behalf of insurance companies and personal injury victims. If you’re interested in Anderson Franco’s representation at mediation or in a personal injury matter, do not hesitate to reach out.