Personal Injury Lawsuits and Mediation
By Michael Verna on January 10, 2019
Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution in which a mediator helps negotiate a settlement between parties in a lawsuit. Rather than going all the way to trial, mediation avoids the courts and helps the parties arrive at a pre-trial settlement. It’s one way that you can settle a personal injury lawsuit outside of court and avoid a trial.
The Walnut Creek, CA personal injury lawyers of Bowles & Verna LLP have a lot of experience with the mediation process and pre-trial settlements. We’d like to consider some of the basics of mediation below. More information on mediation can be provided during a legal consultation with Richard T. Bowles, Michael P. Verna, and their associates.
What Is the Role of a Mediator?
A mediator is a neutral third party who is not invested in either side of the case. Many mediators are retired lawyers or judges. They will function as a go between, presenting proposals from each side without taking a side in a case.
Neutrality and communication are essential in mediators, though it’s not uncommon for them to ask questions and help clarify points of contention for both parties when the need arises.
Who Is Present During Mediation?
Both the plaintiff and defendant sides will be present during mediation. Typically, plaintiffs are present with their attorney(s), as well as any pertinent family members or loved ones. The defendant’s side will typically be represented by the defendant’s attorney and a representative from the defendant’s insurance company.
What Happens During Mediation?
The mediator is sent information from the two sides so they are aware of the background of the case. All parties meet in a single room, with lawyers for each side presenting their case. The plaintiff and defendant sides are then placed in separate rooms. The mediator will then go from one room to another, discussing matters with each side separately. One side will make their demands known to the mediator, who will then go to the other room to convey that information. The two sides negotiate through this neutral third party until an agreement and settlement can be reached.
How Long Does Mediation Take?
This can depend on the nature of the case. Sometimes a settlement can be reached through mediation in just a few hours. Other times, multiple days of mediation may be necessary. A lengthy mediation process is more likely if the two sides show an unwillingness to compromise.
The Benefits of Mediation
While mediation may not be ideal for all personal injury cases, it does offer a number of important benefits to consider:
- The Case Remains Private - All of the details of your case remain confidential during mediation, whereas matters become public if you go to trial. This may be worth considering depending on the nature of your case.
- Faster Resolution Than Going to Trial - Settling out of court means that the case can be resolved much faster than seeing the matter through to trial.
- Less Expensive Than Going to Trial - Since cases are resolved sooner rather than later, mediation is also less expensive than going to trial.
Contact Our Team of Attorneys
For more information about your legal rights in personal injury cases, be sure to contact our team of experienced personal injury attorneys. The legal team at Bowles & Verna LLP is here to help. You can reach our law offices by phone at (925) 935-3300.