How Does Mediation Work in a Personal Injury Case?
Posted on Sunday, May 1st, 2022 at 2:58 pm
After you’ve been injured in an accident due to someone else’s wrongdoing, you can pursue compensation for your losses. Taking legal action doesn’t only mean filing a personal injury lawsuit, however. You may have the option of pursuing compensation for your injuries through less formal modes, such as mediation.
What Is Mediation?
Mediation is facilitated by a neutral third party. The neutral third party, called a mediator, helps two opposing sides communicate as effectively and productively as possible to reach a solution. Court-approved mediators are generally trained in mediation. In Alabama, mediation can be used to resolve a number of legal disputes, including personal injury cases.
Both you and the insurance company or negligent party may have attorneys present during mediation to advocate for your interests and advise you. Mediation doesn’t usually work the way you may have seen it in the movies. You and the opposing party aren’t sitting face to face at a conference table trading pointed comments. More commonly, you and the opposing party are in separate spaces, and the mediator goes back and forth, facilitating negotiation between the parties.
It’s important to understand that mediators aren’t decision-makers. They don’t make a final determination on your claim or case after facilitating discussions between you and the negligent party. If the at-fault party offers you a fair settlement with which you’re satisfied, both parties will have to sign a written agreement stipulating the terms and settlement that you both agreed to. Signing this agreement makes it legally binding and enforceable by law.
Should You Go Through Mediation to Resolve Your Case?
Some companies may require people who have agreed to some sort of contract with them (such as an employee or someone who agrees to the terms and conditions before the use of technology) to resolve any legal disputes in mediation. Even if you aren’t required to go through mediation to resolve your personal injury case, mediation could be a beneficial tool to obtain the compensation you deserve for your injuries. These are some of the benefits of mediation:
- Privacy – Mediation is conducted only between the relevant parties and their attorneys. If you attend mediation with the negligent party, instead of having to argue your case in open court in a personal injury lawsuit, discussions about your claim/case are behind closed doors. This can be especially beneficial if your personal injury claim or case involves sensitive information, which is the case for most people who have suffered injuries due to negligence.
- Time – Court cases can take months and years to be resolved. This is because courts throughout Alabama are significantly backlogged, and judges’ calendars are filled with proceedings months in advance. It isn’t uncommon for hearings to be pushed back or further delayed. With mediation, if you and the negligent party come to an agreement, your personal injury claim could be resolved quicker in mediation than your personal injury case would reach its conclusion in court.
- Expense – Your best chance of obtaining compensation for your injuries depends on your hiring an experienced personal injury attorney to represent you. While it’s in your best interest to hire a personal injury attorney, it’s also an added expense that will continue growing the longer your claim or case draws out. Mediation could be less costly because it could result in your claim being resolved quicker, thereby shrinking the amount of time you would have to pay an attorney to represent you.
What Happens if Mediation Doesn’t Work?
Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee that mediation will result in the fair settlement of your claim or resolution of your case. Your and your attorney’s best efforts may not lead to you getting the compensation you deserve for your injuries. In that event, you have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent party. Your attorney would argue your case in court, as would the negligent party, and a judge or jury would be the decision-makers as to whether you’re awarded compensation.
Contact Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP Now
For the past 25 years, Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP has been working hard to advocate for the rights and best interests of those who have been injured due to the negligence of individuals and companies. Our Birmingham personal injury attorneys have helped injured clients all over the state of Alabama secure millions of dollars in compensation for their injuries, related financial costs, and emotional suffering.