What is Mediation in a Personal Injury Claim?

mediation-meeting-books-laptopsPersonal injury claims can sometimes take time to resolve, especially when the insurance company denies the claim or makes lowball settlement offers. Insurance companies make undervalued offers, because they know victims may be desperate for compensation to cover medical expenses and other damages. An experienced attorney can provide perspective regarding the potential value of your claim and a realistic estimation of how long the negotiation process may take.

When negotiations between the two sides fail, mediation could be the next option. Because mediation is often the last step before going to court to have a jury decide a case, representation by licensed attorney is recommended. Your lawyer will guide you through this process to protect your rights and pursue the maximum compensation for your damages.

When is Mediation Necessary?

If you were injured in an accident and the at-fault party’s insurance company has not offered a fair settlement, even after a series of offers and counteroffers, you and your lawyer may need to file a lawsuit and go to trial. 

At this point, the defendant may either decide to settle and agree with your demands or he or she may continue with the next step of the process: pre-trial and discovery. After this, both sides may need to go through mediation as the last step before going to trial. This is the final chance for both sides to agree on a settlement before the trial.

What Happens During Mediation?

Mediation has become a popular form of settlement because it saves both sides additional time and money that would otherwise be spent in a lawsuit. However, it only happens when both sides agree to go through this process.

In mediation, both sides agree to meet with a neutral third person known as the mediator, who is trained to help the two sides come to a mutual agreement. The mediator does not provide his or her opinion or make decisions, and a settlement can only be reached if both sides agree.

Most mediations for personal injury cases involve the following:

  • Each party will be allowed to speak to the mediator while the other party is present.
  • The two parties can speak to each other with the mediator maintaining control of the exchange.
  • Each party will get to speak to the mediator without the other party being present.

The mediator should not divulge any information given in confidence. For example, if one party publicly stated that he or she was demanding $100,000, and privately notifies the mediator that he or she is willing to settle for $75,000, this should not be revealed by the mediator.

What are the Advantages of Mediation?

One important advantage of the mediation process is that the insurance company will likely take your claim more seriously, especially if you have a lawyer with prior trial experience. Insurers will be more likely to settle before going to trial if they know you and your lawyer are serious about pursuing a lawsuit.

Another advantage is that anything either party discloses during mediation cannot be used later, should the two parties decide to proceed with the lawsuit. Both parties can be more relaxed with communications without the fear of hurting the value of their claim as it could in a trial.

The goal of mediation is to find a middle ground that both sides can agree on. You may not obtain every penny of compensation you want, and the insurer may agree to more than they intended to settle your claim.

Discuss Your Injury Claim with a Licensed Attorney 

If you plan to file a personal injury claim, having a licensed attorney with prior trial experience at your side is important. There are no guarantees in the legal process, but injury victims who hire attorneys often recover more compensation than those who do not.

Call the trusted Sacramento personal injury attorneys at the Arnold Law Firm for a complimentary consultation to discuss the details of your claim. Our attorneys have a wealth of experience and are prepared to take your case to trial to pursue maximum compensation.

Schedule a free consultation today by calling (916) 777-7777.