What Happens During the Mediation Phase of an Injury Claim?
If you were injured in an accident that was caused by someone else’s negligence or risky behavior, you may be entitled to compensation. This money can help pay for your medical expenses and make up for any lost wages if you are unable to return to work because of the accident.
In many cases, the insurance company does not voluntarily offer fair compensation. Your Texas personal injury attorney may file a lawsuit to recover damages to cover your expenses. Mediation is an informal meeting between both parties to see if an agreement may be established before the court schedules a trial date.
Who Is the Mediator?
The mediator is a professional who cannot make any legal decisions about the case. They have been certified in dispute resolution and may be a judge or attorney without an active interest in the case. The mediator typically charges a flat fee that is shared by the plaintiff and defendant.
Since the process is voluntary, the attorneys must first agree on a mediator. In many cases, both attorneys know the mediator. You and your attorney are looking for a mediator who has credibility with the defense, so they trust them.
The meeting will be held in a conference room and may include the defense attorney, insurance adjuster, attorney for the plaintiff, and the plaintiff. The mediator will explain the process before the meeting gets started. First, the lawyer for the plaintiff will present their case and then the defense attorney presents their case. While the defendant and plaintiff may attend the meeting, they are not allowed to participate in this process.
At this point, the mediator will ask each party to move to different rooms. The plaintiff will then make the first demand of the defendant through the mediator. The defense council will discuss the demand with the mediator and make a counteroffer. The process continues until the mediator feels the two parties will not be able to reach an agreement or a settlement is agreed upon.
What Do You Do During Mediation?
During the initial phase of mediation, the defense and plaintiff are in the same room with their attorneys. At this time, only the attorneys present their cases. This is a time when a poker face is an asset. It is your job to refrain from reacting to the presentation and comments when the defense attorney is speaking.
The defense will watch your reactions closely to anticipate whether you will take a low settlement offer. Your reaction may also make them believe you won’t make a good witness at trial. In other words, their impression of you will go a long way in the defense attorney’s evaluation of the case and the likelihood they will agree to a settlement during mediation.
Pros and Cons of Mediation
During mediation, both parties meet with a neutral third person who’s trained in conflict resolution. There are advantages and disadvantages to using mediation before a trial to settle your injury dispute. Occasionally, the terms mediation and negotiation are used in the same context. However, they’re two different approaches to resolving a dispute.
During a negotiation, the parties agree to work together to reach a resolution. They must meet and can form a binding agreement. During mediation, the parties agree to work with a trained mediator and do not speak to each other in the same room.
Both parties must also agree to mediation since it is a voluntary process. They are not bound by the process and can walk out at any time. You may choose to pursue mediation with the at-fault party’s insurance adjuster or with the opposing party after you and your personal injury attorney have filed a lawsuit.
There are several advantages to using mediation in an insurance claim that may otherwise be delayed. You don’t need to pull together further documents or arguments that have not already been prepared for the insurance claim. If you and the opposing party agree to mediation before a trial date can be set, it can result in a less expensive and easier resolution.
However, it can be difficult to get an insurance adjuster to agree to mediation because it requires extra work on their part. On the other hand, mediation may be an attractive alternative once you have filed a lawsuit and the at-fault party would like to reach a resolution without the expense of a trial.
Contact Gibson Hill Personal Injury Today for a Free Consultation
If you were injured in an accident that was not your fault, you may be entitled to compensation that can help pay your bills. The Texas personal injury lawyers of Gibson Hill Personal Injury understand how overwhelming a serious accident can be. Call our office today at 512-580-8334 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation. We’ll listen to the details of your case and offer you advice on your next best steps.