Mediation is an alternative way to attempt to settle disputes in lieu of a trial. It’s an informal and confidential meeting where two disputing parties attempt to arrive at an agreement. In addition to cases involving personal injury, mediation is also used for other many other types of civil cases.
How does mediation work in a personal injury case?
If the insurance company and the injured party cannot agree upon a fair settlement, conflict mediation is a way to try to reach an agreement without having to go to trial. Also, if the victim (plaintiff) has already set the case for trial, the judge or local courts may stipulate mandatory mediation prior to trial.
At the mediation, both sides (with attorneys present) will try to arrive at a fair settlement in the presence of an unbiased, third party mediator. It is not mediator’s job to make decisions or guide either party to any conclusions; he or she merely facilitates the meeting.
After an initial discussion, both parties will move to different rooms, and the victim will start off with a desired settlement number. The mediator may go back and forth between the defendant (or insurance company) and the plaintiff until they agree upon a number, or until it’s decided that a settlement isn’t possible.
The Pros of Mediation
There are several possible benefits of mediation:
- Speed – Mediation can be carried out much quicker than going to trial.
- Confidential – All the information discussed at mediation is confidential, which is important to some parties, whereas a trial is public.
- Cost – If the matter is settled quickly in mediation, it can be far cheaper than having to go through a lengthy and expensive ligation process.
- Human factor – When you sit in the room with the other party (such as insurance representatives) and they get to put a face to your name, your claim won’t be just a number to them. They might be less likely to lowball you when they come face-to-face with your injury.
The Cons of Mediation
The one major pitfall of mediation is the potential for a (expensive) failure. Mediators generally charge $125 to $300 per hour, depending upon the location and their demand. The disputing parties normally split the costs. Sometimes the meeting may last a couple of hours, but sometimes it can take longer than one would like.
Mediation is a great process, but it doesn’t always work. There are times when an agreement cannot be reached, and the money and time both parties have spent on mediation may have been wasted.
A Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help You Decide What’s Best
If you’ve recently filed a claim after an accident in Arvada and the insurance adjuster is lowballing you, mediation might be a good opportunity for negotiation. To determine how to best handle your case, contact personal injury attorney D.J. Banovitz.
Mr. Banovitz can discuss your case with you, represent you during mediation, or prepare your case for trial if you cannot get the settlement you deserve. Contact our firm today to schedule a free consultation – 303-300-5060.