Personal Injury Mediation: How The Process Goes
In some personal injury cases, the courts will order parties to attempt mediation before going to trial. Mediation is often an effective process that helps opposing parties better understand their positions and resolve a claim outside of court.
What is Mediation?
Mediation is a meeting between the two parties to a personal injury lawsuit. The parties are assisted by a mediator who is a neutral third party who is trained in conflict resolution. They will speak to each side, and their goal is to help them communicate more effectively to resolve disputes. Mediation can be a relatively fast and inexpensive means of resolving a personal injury claim.
What the Personal Injury Mediation Process Involves
- Planning: The mediator will help the parties decide on a controlled setting to meet at and who should be present.
- Introduction: The mediator will introduce each participant, go over the mediation process, and layout ground rules to help things move along smoothly.
- Opening Remarks: Each side can make an opening statement without interruption to share their side of the dispute and the issues at stake.
- Joint Discussion: Each party is given a chance to respond to the other’s statement, and the mediator may ask open-ended questions. The goal is to arrive at a better understanding of each side’s needs and concerns. The mediator will summarize what they have heard, help find common goals, and ask for clarification when necessary.
- Caucuses: If necessary, the mediator will split the parties into separate rooms for private meetings or caucuses. Private caucuses are confidential and helpful if emotions are running high. The mediator will go back and forth and try to help the parties find some common ground. This stage typically takes up most of the mediation process and can last for hours, days, months, or longer until an agreement is made.
- Negotiation: At this point, the mediator can bring the parties back together to negotiate directly. However, each side typically remains separate until a settlement agreement is reached or the time allotted for mediation runs out. If the parties agree, the mediator can write up a draft of an enforceable agreement.
Do You Need a Personal Injury Attorney for Mediation?
A personal injury attorney will provide invaluable services during mediation. They can prepare you for what to expect and effectively present your case arguments to the opposing side and the mediator. Your attorney will also assemble the documentation you need to prove the extent and nature of your injuries. Personal injury lawyers have vital experience arguing cases, giving them insight into strategies that can be used to obtain the fair amount of compensation you deserve.
Without professional representation, you will face the other party’s litigation team alone. They may try to trick you into making inaccurate statements that incriminate you or hurt your case. Having an attorney by your side ensures you have guidance on what to say and that your rights will be protected.
To discuss your personal injury case and the mediation process in more detail, speak to a Minneapolis Personal Injury Lawyer today.