When Can Mediation Be Used in a Personal Injury Claim?
Getting compensation for a personal injury can be time-consuming and stressful. If your lawyer or the other party has suggested mediation, you might wonder if mediation is a good use of your time or if it just drags the process out more. Learn more about mediation, how it works in a personal injury case, and how to find out if it’s a good option for your claim.
Not sure what your next step is? Let Mann & Potter help you through your claim. Call us at 205-879-9661 or fill out our online contact form to find out how we can help you.
How Mediation Fits into a Personal Injury Claim
Mediation is a process that involves a neutral third-party mediator who and tries to move the parties toward a workable resolution. And while the mediator guides the discussion, they have no power to impose a resolution that all participants do not agree on.
For many parties to a personal injury claim, mediation is the last step before moving forward with a lawsuit. It may be a last-ditch effort when negotiations have failed, and it seems like the insurance company is unwilling to budge. If there’s still a significant gap between their top offer and your bottom line, mediation may nudge the parties in the right direction and bring them closer to working out a settlement.
Preparing for Mediation
Getting ready for mediation is similar to getting ready for a lawsuit. You and your lawyer go over the details of your personal injury case, putting extra emphasis on the money you’ve lost as a result of the injury and the other ways your injury has affected you. Your attorney will explain what to expect from the mediation process.
After hearing both sides tell their story, the mediator will attempt to negotiate between the two, giving ample time for both sides to speak. Depending on the circumstances and the overall mood of the negotiations, the mediator may have each side in a different room. In that case, the mediator will facilitate communication between the parties using a process known as “caucusing”.
Is Mediation Right for Your Personal Injury Claim?
There are a number of benefits that come with mediation. To start, it is often less stressful than a court case. The setting is slightly more informal, which is often a huge benefit for plaintiffs who have spent months worrying about their personal injury claim.
Additionally, mediation is confidential. If you do not want the details of your claim to be made public, mediation can protect your privacy. On top of that, mediation is usually less expensive and time-consuming than a court case. It also doesn’t limit your options—if you cannot reach a satisfactory agreement via mediation, you can always take your case to court.
There are a number of situations when mediation is not an appropriate choice. If you do not want your case to be confidential, you may want to take it to court. This is fairly unusual but may occur in defective product claims where the victim wants the company’s name and deeds made public, for example.
You also may not be able to use mediation if the other party’s insurance company refuses. For some companies, the cost of mediation is not worth the possibility of a fair agreement. Finally, your attorney may not recommend mediation if your bottom line and the other party’s top offer are just too far apart. Mediation can help smooth out some of the bumps in negotiations, but if you and the other side are too far off, a court case may be the only way to recover the full and fair compensation you deserve.
Start Your Claim with Mann & Potter
Whether you are just exploring your personal injury claim options or you feel like you’re being treated poorly by the liable party’s insurance company, it’s time to talk to an attorney. At Mann & Potter, we focus on fighting aggressively for the compensation our clients deserve. Set up a meeting now by contacting us online or calling 205-879-9661.