If your loves one makes a personal injury claim, you and your family will have several options. First, you can try to settle the case with the defendant outside of court. Some people choose this option because it means that they can avoid trial. But with a settlement, you don’t have an unbiased party helping you make the decision.
If the case can go to trial, your loved one might get more compensation. But, the stress of a trial might be too much for your loved one. There is an option that takes the best of both of these options – mediation. If your loved one’s case is referred to mediation, there are some things to know about the process.
What is Mediation?
This is an attempt for two opposing parties to settle a dispute. They do this with the help of a mediator. The mediator must be a third party who listens to both sides of the conflict. They then propose a fair agreement for the two opposing parties to reach. If your loved one decides to go to mediation, a few different parties will be present. They will go through this with their attorney. The opposing party’s attorney will also be present.
Sometimes the defendant or a representative of the defendant’s insurance company is also present. These meetings generally begin with a joint session where all the parties are present. After that, the mediator will meet with the parties separately. This is called caucusing. During caucusing, the mediator goes between parties with demands, offers, and other information.
This option is a successful form of compromise. It has a success rate of over 80%. When mediation fails, it is usually because the plaintiff doesn’t know what to expect. Your loved one should expect the defendant’s attorney to challenge their claims.
Helping Your Loved One
The defendant will also challenge the evidence for the case. Encourage your loved one not to get discouraged by statements that belittle them. Eventually, the defendant’s lawyer will be willing to settle. Your loved one should also expect the defense to suggest an offer that is low. The initial offers are usually low.
But if your loved one sticks it out, a compromise that is more to their liking can happen. If your loved one is confused by legal jargon, ask their lawyer to explain it. It is important that your loved one understand exactly what is going on during the meeting.
The most important aspect of mediation to remember is that it will end in a compromise. Your loved one probably will not get everything that they want out of the settlement, but the purpose of mediation is to give your loved one the compensation that he or she deserves.
Hiring an Attorney
Before mediation, your loved one should talk about their expectations with their lawyer. Discuss what they are and are not willing to compromise on. This will make the expectations going into mediation clearer.
Mediation is a good option if your loved one is involved in a personal injury lawsuit. While your loved one might not get everything that they want, they will most likely be able to reach a satisfactory agreement without having to go to trial. This means that they can get compensation without the stress or cost of trial.