When you have a personal injury claim against a person or company, there are several ways it can be resolved. The liable party’s insurance company might offer a fair settlement during negotiations, or your case may go to court. Mediation is another option that falls somewhere between the two extremes. If you’re considering mediation for your personal injury claim or a court has ordered your claim to go to mediation, learn more about how it works.
When you’re injured because of someone else’s negligence, it’s important to move quickly and pursue the compensation you deserve. At Turner, Onderdonk, Kimbrough, Howell, Huggins & Bradley, we are committed to helping every client fight for what they are owed. Schedule an appointment now by calling our Chatom office at 251-847-2237 or our Bay Minette office at 251-651-0483.
How Often is Mediation Used?
Those who are familiar with mediation have usually seen it used in family law cases, where it is used to resolve issues of custody, child support, alimony, and the division of assets. However, over the years, mediation has become a more popular solution for personal injury and other areas of law.
That being said, mediation is not a tool that can be used effectively in every personal injury case. In some situations, a judge will order both parties to attend mediation before hearing a case. In others, the two parties choose to try mediation first to avoid the time and extra expense of a court case. But there are also cases in which one side (usually the insurer) does not want to mediate because they do not want to spend the time to go through the process.
How Mediation Can Help You with Your Claim
Mediation can be an effective way to reach a mutually beneficial agreement without dragging a claim to court. It is a voluntary process, so it does require two parties who are willing to work together toward a settlement. Mediation may work in your favor if you have a strong case that you think will persuade the other side to be more flexible during negotiations.
One of the main benefits of mediation is the presence of a neutral third party. Since both parties agree on a mediator, there is no fear of favoritism or bias. Consider this situation—your attorney has built a very strong case showing why the other party is at fault for an accident. The insurance company is stubbornly refusing to offer anything more than a lowball settlement, insisting that your claim isn’t as strong as you think it is.
When presented with this evidence and both points of view, the mediator can provide feedback and advice to both sides. They might tell the other party that you have an extremely strong case against them and remind them of the benefits of settling. Receiving this kind of feedback from a neutral third party can sometimes help convince the insurer to offer a better settlement amount.
It Isn’t Always the Answer
While mediation is often a great way to work out a settlement, it isn’t the right fit for some situations. If one or both parties refuse to budge at all in negotiations, mediation is unlikely to change that. If that’s the case, you’ll likely be spending time and resources on both mediation and a court case.
It’s also not a viable option if one party refuses to participate. As mentioned earlier, this sometimes happens when the other party’s insurance company is involved. Attending mediation is time-consuming and does not guarantee that a settlement will be reached, so the insurance company may choose not to participate.
What Happens When Mediation Fails?
In many cases, mediation yields a fair settlement that satisfies both parties. But there is always the risk of it failing. One or both parties can walk away at any time and begin preparing for a lawsuit, forcing the other party to give up on mediation. One side may refuse to negotiate further, and since mediation is not legally binding until an agreement is signed by all participants, there is nothing the other party can do.
Contact Our Firm Today to Start Your Personal Injury Claim
Wondering if mediation is the right choice for your personal injury claim? Choose the team at Turner, Onderdonk, Kimbrough, Howell, Huggins & Bradley to guide you through the claims process. You can contact us , call our Chatom office at 251-847-2237, or reach our Bay Minette office at 251-651-0483 to set up a meeting now.