Posted on Thursday, December 1st, 2022 at 10:23 am
Mediation can often feel like purgatory to those looking to get the compensation they and their family need after an injury caused by someone else’s wrongdoing. Once a settlement is made, it can still take some time to receive a check. For that reason, it’s important to look at how mediation settlement works, what happens after a settlement is made, and how long it will take after mediation to get your money.
A Settlement Is Legally Binding
Three basic outcomes could happen following mediation:
- The defendant agrees to settle with you.
- The defendant refuses to settle with you.
- Negotiations will continue following mediation.
If you reach outcome one, have agreed to the settlement amount offered by the defendant, and the agreement has been documented and signed, that settlement agreement becomes legally binding. Not only can the defendant not change their mind and try to alter their offer later, but you will also not be able to ask for more later.
This is especially important to consider when it comes to injuries that require long-term care or involve chronic pain. Not only should a settlement cover your needs in the short term, but it should also help with costs like physical therapy and prescription medications going into the future.
What Happens Immediately After Mediation?
Once both parties have agreed to a settlement, the mediator will draw up all the necessary paperwork, and you’ll typically sign it the same day. While every settlement is unique, the most common stipulations are as follows:
- The defendant agrees to the total amount of the settlement, which will be paid by their insurance company
- You won’t take any future legal action against the defendant
- You won’t make any future claims relating to this accident/injury
A settlement has effectively the same result as a verdict. Once the agreement is made and filed, the court will close the case.
What Happens if the Other Party Tries to Get Out of the Settlement?
If the defendant in your case tries to get out of obeying the terms of the mediation settlement that they agreed to, the court will have the legal authority to enforce the agreement and impose sanctions for any violations. These sanctions could include the following:
- Paying for attorney fees
- Covering all court costs
- Paying for the costs of the mediation session
A settlement agreement is final.
How Long After Mediation Will I Get My Money?
In most cases, you can expect your lawyer to receive your settlement check four to six weeks after you sign the settlement agreement. The exact timing can vary depending on a few factors, including the complexity of your case. If the insurance company is short-staffed or disorganized, it might take longer to get your check cut. If the amount of your settlement is quite high, various people in the insurance company may have to sign off before your check can be written.
What if Mediation Wasn’t Successful?
If your mediation session is unsuccessful and leads to another session, these are some of the elements that might affect how soon you can have another, perhaps more successful, session:
The Facts of the Case
If, after an initial session, the insurance company determines a doctor’s testimony is needed, this could prolong the time it takes before your next mediation. The doctor may be required to opine on your physical condition and about your pain, suffering, and the effect the injury has had upon your life and your ability to work now and in the future.
High Settlement Amount
Another factor that could prolong the time it takes for you to get back to mediation is how large the settlement is. The higher the amount, the more likely it is that the insurance company will conduct a further investigation to find ways to avoid having to pay.
All communication with the insurance company should go through your lawyer to ensure as quick and smooth a process as possible.
If you and the insurance company can’t come to terms, though, your attorney will likely need to file a lawsuit or proceed with the ongoing litigation to pursue the compensation you’re entitled to.
Get Started Today with a Personal Injury Mediation Attorney
Here at Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP, our Birmingham personal injury attorneys have recovered millions in settlements and verdicts for our clients. When you’ve been injured in an accident caused entirely by someone else, you deserve to have counsel that will fight for you every step of the way. Call us today at (205) 324-1212 for your confidential case evaluation.