You’ve been in a major car accident and end up in the hospital. You call your insurance and your attorney. A case develops.
Your lawyer says the case is going into mediation. Now what?
What is personal injury mediation? While not all disputes go to mediation, it is a common step for those who’ve been in an accident or suffered from a wrongful death.
Want to learn more? Keep reading as we explain the ins and outs of personal injury mediation.
What Is Personal Injury Mediation?
Mediation is a process that takes place before a dispute goes to trial in an attempt to resolve the issue first. This process can be voluntarily elected by both sides or mediation can be court-ordered.
For instance, if you’ve been in a fender-bender and were injured, the court may decide that you should attempt to resolve things outside of a trial setting since this is a common dispute.
Essentially, mediation is a private meeting outside of court to settle the dispute.
This meeting is handled by a neutral third party, known as the mediator. Mediators are typically retired judges or attorneys who’ve opted to practice mediation.
Your personal injury lawyer will work with the defense attorney to choose a mediator they both know and trust.
What Do I Do During Mediation?
During mediation, there is not much you will do. Along with the defense and insurance adjusters, you’ll meet at a neutral location.
At first, you’ll gather in a conference room together. Your lawyer will present your personal injury case and your settlement demands. The defense then argues against your presented case.
The mediator will ask clarifying questions and then both sides will break into separate rooms. While separated, the mediator will privately speak with you and ask questions. Then they’ll do the same with the defense and insurance adjusters.
Bouncing back and forth, the mediator works to have both parties reach an amicable agreement.
What Else Should I Know?
To start, going to mediation does not guarantee a settlement. It only guarantees that both parties attempted to settle the dispute. If you or the defense do not agree on any set of terms for the settlement, you may still go to trial.
While it’s important that you completely trust your personal injury attorney to do their job, it does not hurt to familiarize yourself with the law. This will help you manage your expectations.
Bruner Law Firm has a great article on car accidents: https://www.brunerfirm.com/panama-city/car-accidents/
Depending on your case, you might want to read up on wrongful death at Justia: https://www.justia.com/injury/wrongful-death/
Finally, it’s good to have a basic understanding of the Thin Skull Rule:
What happens after mediation depends on how mediation concludes. Did you reach a settlement? Are you going to trial?
Results will vary, though personal injury mediation often resolves with a settlement. Settlements are rigorous and a trial should only happen if both parties simply can’t agree.
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