Updated March 4, 2020
Mediation is a process where parties to a claim or lawsuit come together in the presence of a neutral third party to try to resolve the matter. Both sides talk about the case and work to reach a resolution in a way that satisfies everyone.
A successful mediation results in the parties resolving the claim or suit outside of the presence of the court, through a neutral third party. Mediation is unsuccessful if the parties do not reach an agreement.
What’s better for your case: mediation or litigation? There are a few benefits to mediation over taking a personal injury case to court.
Typically, mediation costs less than litigation. Expert witnesses, subpoena fees, and deposition costs may not have to be incurred for a mediation, saving you and your attorney money.
Additionally, resolving your case through mediation is usually much quicker than court proceedings, which can last for months or years.
Attending a mediation meeting is most likely the first time the insurance adjuster for the negligent party has met you in person. Putting a face to your name humanizes you. You’re no longer just a file on their desk; instead, you’re a person.
Both parties retain more control during mediation as opposed to court proceedings. Everyone is an active participant in the process of resolving the case during mediation, and the court is not present to make rulings or issue orders.
After agreeing to mediation, attorneys for both parties must agree on several factors, including who to use as a mediator as well as when and where to meet.
During mediation, the mediator will lay out the ground rules. Then, your attorney and the negligent party’s attorney will give opening statements, present evidence, and speak privately to the mediator outside of the presence of the opposing party and counsel.
Any agreements reached during mediation must be mutually acceptable. If you reach an agreement and sign it, the agreement is enforceable in court. If you do not come to a solution, the case will either proceed to court or, if litigation is already pending, the case will continue moving forward as planned.
Mediators are in attendance to help both parties focus on the issues, reduce negative feelings, minimize points of controversy, and bring the parties closer to an agreement. They cannot give legal advice, nor do they have the power to force either party to make a decision.
To give your case its best possible chance for a successful mediation, follow these steps:
Your attorney can help you set realistic expectations and advise you on when to accept a settlement.
If you’re in the Indianapolis area and looking for a way to settle your personal injury claim, the Personal Injury Attorneys at Wilson Kehoe Winingham might be able to help you. The attorneys at WKW have years of experience with personal injury claims and can help you decide what’s best for you. Call 317.920.6400 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.
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