When it comes to personal injury litigation, some people turn away from the process due to its potential to be expensive, stressful and time-consuming.
However, in recent years, personal injury mediation has become common in these types of cases. A large percentage of civil cases settle, in turn making mediation the most common settlement technique.
Personal Injury Mediation: What Is It?
Mediation occurs when a third party (mediator) facilitates a discussion with the sole purpose being to settle the case. The third party is typically a personal injury lawyer who has experience trying these types of cases for plaintiffs, defendants or both.
Mediation is an entirely voluntary process. If mediation does not work – meaning both sides of the dispute cannot reach an agreement – the only consequence is that the litigation continues. Since nothing either party says during mediation is usable by the other party in later stages of the dispute, there is no downside to mediation.
Mediation: First Steps To Ensure Settlement Success
The key to any personal injury settlement is not simply to settle the case, but to get the highest value possible. Here’s what you need:
- Select A Strong Mediator: Look for a professional mediation service, staffed by full-time mediators who have both mediation experience and a legal background or identify individual mediators that have a long track record of successful mediation experience.
- Select The Right Counsel For Your Case: This means finding a well-seasoned personal injury attorney who the other side fears.
- Conduct In-Depth Preparation: Deep knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of your case, along with a total understanding of all the defenses are crucial to a successful outcome.
Work with your lawyer to determine the best possible personal injury settlement scenarios to push during mediation.
During your personal injury mediation process, your lawyer needs to educate the mediator as much as possible before the mediation date. This must be done so the mediator understands the defense pressure points and the objectives to achieve in any settlement. Preparation and education will also help facilitate a smooth process the day mediation begins. We prepare power point presentations and detailed mediation statements to help ensure success at mediation.
The Benefits (And The Barrier) Of Personal Injury Mediation
Pro: When you reach a stalemate in your negotiations with the insurance adjuster, mediation is a way to break the impasse.
Pro: When you sit across the table from the insurance adjuster, you’ve put a human face to your set of personal injury claim documents. Because of this, they are more likely to understand the risks of a jury trial by putting a face to the tragedy.
Pro: The third-party mediator encourages a break in any deadlock, so the whole process is typically faster, easier and less expensive than taking your case to court.
Con: Because both parties must agree to mediation, it is sometimes difficult to get an adjuster on board due to the extra steps involved, including that crucial personal appearance.
Where Do You Draw The Line Before Deciding To Mediate?
You’re going to need legal counsel with a personal injury background, as well as a professional mediator, if any of the following scenarios have the parties at an impasse:
- The insurance company has not offered anything close to fair personal injury compensation.
- The major dispute involves the extent of your personal injury and to what degree each party was at fault.
- You see no other avenues for negotiating, beyond taking your claim to a jury.
If you’ve suffered a personal injury, the law reserves you the right to certain compensation that helps you pay for time lost at work, medical bills and any loss of life enjoyment. You deserve to have the truth about your personal injury revealed as well as a settlement that assists in your path towards recovery.
Personal injury mediation has revolutionized the legal system as a viable alternative to achieve desired results, without the expense and complex battles of a court case.
Would you like to learn more about personal injury mediation and partnering with the right attorney to guide you through the process? Call 614-481-6000 or click on the button below to speak with a Compassionate Consultant at Cooper & Elliott.