Many personal injury lawsuits that are not settled by the insurance company end up going to court. But this is not the only way to resolve the matter in the accident victim’s favor. Georgia personal injury lawyers may recommend mediation. Mediation is an increasingly popular way to settle injury cases and avoid the cost and stress of going to court. Other civil cases can also be handled this way.
Numerous types of accidents, including motor vehicle and trucking accidents, can be mediated. So can medical malpractice, product defect, and other cases. Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution in which a neutral third party listens to both sides’ arguments. The role of the mediator is not to make a decision. Instead, he or she facilitates productive discussion to try to have the plaintiff and defendant reach a mutually beneficial compromise.
Both sides agree to select a particular mediator. Usually the plaintiff and defendant will be allowed to present a case summary and supporting materials prior to the mediation. On the date scheduled, the opposing sides begin by meeting with the mediator in an informal setting, like an office. Typically the mediator will meet privately with the plaintiff and his or her personal injury lawyers to understand the claims and issues. The plaintiff will explain the basis for the dollar amount demanded. Then the mediator will meet with the defendant to understand his or her view of the case. If the defendant has a counteroffer, the mediator will present it to the defendant.
The two sides will have their own separate rooms to confer privately with their respective legal counsel. The parties must agree that the discussions that take place cannot be used against the other in future litigation. This is designed to encourage open discussion to try to resolve the case.
Mediation will continue as the two sides narrow their arguments and propose offers and counteroffers. Many times, minor issues will be resolved relatively quickly. But the entire mediation can often last several hours or an entire day. In some cases one party will be unreasonable or unwilling to compromise, and the mediation will likely not be fruitful.
If the two sides reach an agreement, the mediator will likely draft a memorandum for them to sign. An attorney will later draft more formal settlement papers to submit to the court.
The parties are not required to have legal counsel present, but it’s strongly recommended. Having an attorney in mediation ensures that the negotiations are fair. This is especially true for accident victims who are going against large insurance companies. Experienced accident and personal injury attorneys are familiar with the value of damages that victims deserve. They will negotiate from a position of strength and make it clear they will not settle for unreasonable offers.
They are also familiar with the language and terms that a properly drafted settlement should contain. Not only will personal injury lawyers ensure that your losses will be fairly compensated in the event of an early resolution. They will review any settlement documents with an eye towards comprehensiveness. The objective is to make sure everything is covered. Once a case is settled, you won’t get another chance to negotiate your terms. You need an aggressive and knowledgeable attorney looking out for your interests.
Whether you are facing a personal injury, automobile accident, or other civil matter, your attorney should explore all available options. If your case winds up in court, you should expect diligent representation. But you should also expect that other avenues, such as mediation, will be explored. The goal of mediation is to maximize your recovery while minimizing time, stress, and cost. The Georgia personal injury law firm of Hammers Law Firm is experienced in all aspects of the litigation process. Let our team handle your mediation today.