The Concise Guide to Mediation for Personal Injury Cases
Personal injury cases can be settled in court, but that is usually not the first option because chances are that legal recourse to personal injury disputes may drag for long. Mediation is a favored alternative with all involved, including lawyers and insurers.
A mediation involves both parties debating the dispute in the presence of a mediator, who is a neutral third party. A mediation happens when both sides want it. A mediation is not binding on any party. It works only if both agree to it. The mediator does not pass judgement, he only offers suggestions. It is an informal process, and whatever a party says during a mediation cannot be held against it later on.
The expenses arising out of a mediation are shared by both parties. With a mediation, there is no case to lose as such.
In a personal injury dispute mediation, both parties can talk to each other face-to-face. The mediator facilitates the exchange of information. If the mediator is privy to confidential information, he respects the confidentiality, but he is free to use the information to cajole the parties to arrive at a mutually agreeable solution. You can present your case on your own in a mediation, but you stand a far better chance of obtaining a favorable decision if you hire a lawyer, more so if the other party is using the services of a lawyer.
Mediators can be found at community dispute resolution centers. These dispute resolution centers are a good choice for disputes between landlords, tenants, and such parties. These centers do not; however, have mediators trained to handle personal injury cases.
If you approach a professional mediation service, you will be served by a mediator with legal understanding and you can hope for a dispassionate and fair hearing. These professional mediators are often retired judges and can charge hefty fees.
Mediation offers several advantages. The biggest is that it can be a time saver. You’ll be saved from a possibly lengthy court procedure. You sit in front of the insurance adjuster, you can see your injuries and assess the truth of the matter. It’s very different from an insurance adjuster relying on files and reports to come to a conclusion. You don’t need to run around to gather documents for a mediation process. The documents from the claims process will work just fine.
The downside of a mediation is that it is not very easy to convince an insurance adjuster to attend an in-person mediation. There is a cost involved. Also, if an insurance adjuster does agree, you really need to be at the top of your game so that the mediator does not get you to agree to terms that are not only unfavorable but can also be unjust.
If there is a significant difference in the amount you feel you deserve and what the insurer is offering, then mediation is worth considering. If a mediation does not work, you can take the matter to the small claims court or a civil court.