If you have been injured and you want to file a personal injury claim, then you have several options. One of these options is mediation. It is less costly and more expedient than filing a lawsuit and going to court. It can represent a good compromise in many situations.
Who is a Mediator in a Personal Injury Claim?
Like a judge in a courtroom, a mediator hears both sides of a personal injury claim. A mediator has been trained to help settle these claims. They don’t make decisions or judgments in the case. The main function is to help the parties solve the issue themselves. Independent mediators are usually judges or lawyers, and they can be practicing or retired.
Mediation helps both parties work out their differences. The cost is usually shared equally by the plaintiff and defendant. Nobody is forced to attend mediation. If mediation doesn’t work out, and both parties don’t agree, they still have the option to fight it out in court.
How Does Mediation Work?
A mediator will sit down with both sides at once. The two sides begin by speaking to each other. Then, each side conferences with the mediator in private. The mediator uses the information gathered from both sides to convince them to meet on common ground and reach a settlement.
If the two sides reach an agreement, then a settlement agreement is signed. The injured party releases liability, which is to say that they won’t ask for additional damages sometime down the road. The insurance company usually makes payment in less than a month. Payment of a claim through the court takes much longer.
Pros and Cons of Mediation
Sometimes you just can’t reach an agreement with an insurance adjuster on your own. Mediation gives you a chance to accelerate the process without the expense of a full-blown lawsuit. Instead of talking on the phone with a stranger, you now sit face to face with the adjuster. It helps both of you bring your humanity to the table. Having the mediator serve as an impartial third party can help. These are some of the advantages of mediation.
Mediation doesn’t always work, and sometimes you need to go to court after mediation is attempted. At times, it is difficult to convince insurance adjusters to go to mediation. It’s extra work for them and may cause your settlement to be bigger than they had in mind. One more thing, it can get expensive to use an independent mediator.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Mediation?
You can go to mediation on your own, or you can hire a personal injury lawyer to help guide you through the mediation process. If mediation doesn’t work out, you’ll want to hire a personal injury attorney. This act alone usually gets the insurance adjuster moving to meet you. But, if you end up going to court, a lawyer is an absolute necessity, unless you are experienced in the legal system yourself.
If you have a personal injury case, mediation is just one of the options you have to recover damages.