Over the past few years, more personal injury claims are moving away from the long, expensive process of trial, and instead opting for mediation. Lawyers and insurance companies alike see the benefits of mediation for their claims, and the value of the process. In fact, mediation is used more often than trial to determine a personal injury case – and when they are successful, plaintiffs can actually save money while still getting the settlement that they deserve.
How It Works
In mediation, both parties will come to an official meeting, but be separated. They will sit down with a neutral third-party “mediator” (typically an attorney or retired judge). The mediator works as a go-between to find a mutually satisfying solution for both parties. Mediation is strictly voluntary and no one is required to participate, but doing so will likely lead to a more favorable outcome.
Also, mediation cannot be forced. Both parties must agree to attend and work together in mediation. If one party refuses, the case will proceed to trial. What is said during mediation cannot be used against either party, if the case were to escalate to trial; instead, it is confidential.
Mediation fees are split equally between the two sides. The process is extremely informal, and it is designed to allow each side to have their turn to speak without the burdens of traditional courtroom hearings.
What You Can Expect at Mediation
While mediation is successful in most claims, there is a lot of back and forth. Your attorney will prepare you for the process and help you get the best settlement possible. In order to succeed in mediation, you need to know what to expect. This includes the following:
- You will still receive low offers at first. Mediation is still a negotiation process, with the mediator directly involved in that process; therefore, you may receive a low initial offer. Do not get discouraged. Instead, you will notice that your attorney comes in high, the defendant comes in low, and eventually, everyone agrees to something in the middle. Just realize that it is a process.
- There will be a lot of unfamiliar legal terms used. This is what your attorney is for. They will explain what is being discussed, and ensure that you know what is happening every step of the way.
- It can take several hours or days. Depending on the case, your mediation could take a few hours or even spill into the next day. Sometimes, it takes multiple sessions for both sides to come to an agreement on all terms.
- You will have to compromise. Mediation is all about making concessions. Unlike strict litigation, the goal is for everyone to walk away happy. You must identify your bottom line, so that your attorney knows – but other than that, both sides being flexible is the key to a successful outcome.
- You will need to sign a document. Once everything is agreed upon, you will sign an agreement memorializing the agreed-upon result.
Get Started with Your Injury Case – Contact a Philadelphia Attorney
If you have a personal injury claim, contact Jeffrey Harlan Penneys, Esq. today. Our experts can assist you with your injury case. You can request a free consultation at any time by calling the office at 800-InjuryLaw (800-465-8795), calling my cell at 215-771-0430, or asking your question online via our online contact form.