Not all personal injury cases go to trial, some cases can be resolved through mediation. According to Code of the District of Columbia mediation means a process in which a mediator facilitates communication and negotiation between parties to assist them in reaching a voluntary agreement regarding their dispute.
To start, mediation is a meeting between opposing sides with the end goal of reaching a case settlement. Mediation almost always involves a neutral person, or “mediator” to lead the meeting and guide both parties to reach an agreement. For example, in a car accident personal injury case, a mediator would meet with both a car crash injury victim and the at-fault driver, their attorneys and other representatives from insurance companies in order to work out a fair settlement.
There is usually an initial meeting where both sides make introductory statements. After they finish their introductions, each party will separate and the mediator will go back and forth to relay communication. Often, both parties will not see each other again after opening statements and the majority, if not all, of the communication and negotiation, will be coordinated by the mediator. The reason for this distance between parties is that often these personal conversations can get heated and emotional. The point of mediation is to figure out a strategy to solve the problem and ultimately settle a case in the fairest way possible.
Mediations are almost always confidential, meaning that what goes on in a mediation session will stay there, and will not be made public like the records for many court cases.
Mediation is a good idea if both parties are likely to reach an agreement without going through the lengthy process of a trial, which can take years. Mediation might be the preferred means of settling a legal dispute if:
Mediation can be done in as little as one day, or if the case is complex, it might stretch out over several days or weeks. The timeline for mediation will depend on several factors including the working relationships between parties, the overall communication strategy, and how the ongoing negotiations play out. With some case types, there are strict timetables for when mediation must occur.
Due to the nature of mediation and how it is dependent on the complexity of the case, it is necessary to speak to a skilled attorney to get a better sense of how long mediating your case might take. Remember, there are no guarantees, and mediation might take shorter or longer than you initially expect .
Mediators are usually someone with a reputation for fairness and experience in the relevant type of case. Mediators can be retired judges or lawyers. Depending on the state, mediators might be appointed directly by a court. Or, they might be members of the community that are skilled in negotiating while remaining impartial to the issue at hand. Mediators do not decide the outcome of the case.
While many different types of cases can be solved through mediation, it is a common practice for personal injury cases because this often involves negotiation between two or more parties. Additionally, according to DC law (the Medical Malpractice Proceedings Act of 2006), all named parties are required to participate in mediation in medical malpractice cases. The law has strict timetables for when mediation must occur.
The process and requirements can differ by jurisdiction and state. Speak to an experienced personal injury lawyer to better understand your legal options.
Call the personal injury lawyers at Regan Zambri Long PLLC to discuss your case today.