When Can Mediation be Used in a Personal Injury Claim?
Posted on behalf of Phillips Law Group on Jan 29, 2021 in Personal Injury
Some personal injury cases make it all the way to court and are resolved once the jury reaches a verdict. However, most cases do not make it that far. They are settled out of the courtroom through some form of alternative dispute resolution. One form of alternative dispute resolution is bringing in a mediator.
Below, learn more about mediation, including the reasons why you should strongly consider retaining a lawyer for this process.
Phillips Law Group has been securing compensation for personal injury victims for nearly 30 years and we work on contingency. That means we do not charge upfront fees. The initial consultation with a personal injury lawyer in Phoenix is free and there are no fees while we work on your case. Our attorneys do not get paid unless you are compensated.
Call today to learn more about how we may be able to assist you.
What is Mediation?
Essentially, both parties involved in the injury claim meet with a neutral third party, known as a mediator. Both parties present their case, and the mediator tries to facilitate a settlement both parties can agree on. It is important to note mediation is not like arbitration – a decision reached by an arbitrator is legally binding while a decision by a mediator is non-binding.
Who Gets Chosen as a Mediator?
Typically, mediators are retired lawyers or judges who have significant experience with personal injury cases. Both parties pay to bring in the mediator, which helps to ensure the mediator does not favor one party over another and that both sides are acting in good faith to attempt to resolve the situation.
What Happens During Mediation?
Mediation usually starts with an introduction. Everyone gets into a room together and the mediator goes over the process and what to expect. After that, the parties can decide how to proceed. Sometimes they may continue the process in the same room, other times they break into separate rooms.
The mediator meets with both parties to go over their claims and ask them what they would be willing to settle for. If the parties are in separate rooms, the mediator meets with each party separately. The mediator presents one side’s settlement offer to the other and vice versa.
Sometimes both sides are very far apart in their settlement offers. It is up to the mediator to suggest one or both sides make concessions so an agreement can be reached. If both sides go back and forth and an agreement cannot be reached, the mediator may suggest terminating the session. At that point, both sides may need to go to court to resolve the situation.
How Long Does Mediation Take?
There is no deadline for a mediation session. That said, the mediator must be paid. If mediation goes on too long, one or both sides may not want to continue paying the mediator’s fees. Sometimes mediation concludes after an hour, sometimes it takes several hours. The duration of an injury claim depends on the specifics of the case and many other factors.
Why do I Need a Lawyer?
It is important to note insurance companies have gone through mediation countless times. They have also dealt with many injury claims and they know how to reach a settlement that favors them and not the victim.
If you do not have an attorney present, the insurance company is likely to use a variety of intimidation tactics to try to convince you to accept a lowball settlement offer. Insurance companies know victims are unsure of the value of their claim and are desperate for any compensation.
If you have a lawyer representing you, the insurance company may be more likely to act in good faith to reach a settlement that is favorable to you. You should make sure to hire an experienced lawyer who regularly goes to court. The insurance company will know if an attorney is prepared to go to court. The possibility of having to go to court and rely on a jury’s decision is often enough to get an insurance company to offer more compensation.
When you meet with an attorney you are considering hiring, make sure to ask about his or her experience:
- How often do you go to court?
- Have you represented cases like mine?
- Have you gone through mediation before?
- How much compensation have you recovered for cases like mine?
Contact Phillips Law Group for Legal Assistance
Have questions about your injury claim? Unsure how much your claim may be worth?
Give us a call today to schedule a free legal consultation. Our firm has a proven track record of success with personal injury claims. We have recovered more than $750 million in compensation on behalf of our clients.
Firm partner Jeff Phillips is a member of the National Trial Lawyers Association – Top 100.
Free consultation. No upfront fees. Call 1-800-706-3000 today.