Mediation of Personal Injury Claims
Any person who sustains an injury caused by the negligent or careless actions of another individual or entity in California should be able to recover compensation for their losses. However, recovering compensation can be challenging, particularly when it comes to standing up to insurance carriers and well-funded at-fault parties. Even though most injury claims are resolved through settlements with insurance carriers, it may be necessary for both parties to go through the mediation process to settle the issue.
What is a Mediation for a California Personal Injury Claim?
Most parties involved in an injury case want to avoid a trial. The reality is that jury trials for injury claims are costly and time-consuming, and this can significantly delay how long it takes for a person to receive compensation. One of the most common alternative dispute resolution methods used for these situations is called mediation.
Sometimes, a plaintiff and defendant will voluntarily choose mediation, but this could also be ordered by a judge in an attempt to settle the claim before the trial becomes necessary. Mediators are neutral third parties, and they are usually former judges or attorneys who have extensive experience handling these types of negotiations.
What to Expect During a Mediation
The mediation process does not happen in a courtroom, and this is certainly less formal than the courtroom process.
The mediation will begin with all parties in the same room together. This includes the injury victim and their personal injury attorney, as well as the defendant and their legal team. The third-party mediator will introduce everyone and then give a brief overview of the case as it currently stands. The mediator may ask a few preliminary questions.
After the introductory period, both sides will separate two different rooms. Generally, the plaintiff and the defendant will not see each other again until the mediation concludes.
Mediator Back and Forth
This is where the mediator will get to work. They will go back and forth between both parties to discuss the facts of the case. The mediator will not share what one side says to the other side, but they will have all of the information at their disposal to help guide their efforts to nudge one side or the other into settling the claim. Mediators will pose questions to both parties, examine the strengths and weaknesses of both sides, and they will suggest what they think should happen based on their experience.
Looking for a Solution
The mediation process for a personal injury claim is designed to reach a settlement before a costly and time-consuming trial becomes necessary. The mediator wants to get both sides to agree on an adequate dollar amount for a settlement, and if this happens, the case will be over.
In the event the mediation does not result in a successful settlement agreement, it may be necessary to move forward with the civil lawsuit and on to a jury trial.
Regardless of whether you think your case will be resolved through an insurance settlement, through mediation, or at trial, you need to have a skilled accident lawyer by your side at all times. An attorney will guide you towards the best path of recovering full compensation for your losses, and they will be your advocate so you do not have to do this alone.