If you’re in a car accident or other incident that requires legal assistance, you might be required to attend mediation. Mediation is an alternative resolution method that introduces an unbiased third party to the settlement process. These mediators facilitate a discussion between the individuals involved and work to come to a voluntary conclusion to the conflict.
There are many benefits to mediation, and it helps resolve problems efficiently. The process is designed to save money, time, and stress. Participants are allowed to be more involved than in other types of legal proceedings. While this works exceptionally well in most cases, there are times when mediation may pose difficulties to settlement disputes.
What Occurs During the Mediation Process?
Once a case is filed, mediation will either occur voluntarily or be issued by the court. After the resolution process is scheduled and mediators are agreed upon, participants and personal injury lawyers will come together at the expected time to begin the mediation process. While some might think this process is casual, the manner is most often structured in the same pattern.
Most mediators follow the process below:
- Mediator’s opening statement: At the start of the process, when everyone is seated, the mediator will begin introductions, explain the rules and goals of the mediation, and say any words of encouragement to the participants.
- Disputants’ opening statements: The disputants are allowed to describe the accident, financial losses, and other consequences of the incident. When one person is speaking, the mediator will make sure the other is silent.
- Joint discussion: In an attempt to understand the situation and define the main issues, mediators will sometimes ask the participants to comment directly on the opening statements. This depends on the disputants’ receptiveness.
- Private caucuses: During this step, each group is placed in a separate room and given moments to meet privately with the mediator. The mediator will go back and forth between the rooms and discuss each position and exchange settlement offers. Most of the time spent in the mediation process occurs during this stage.
- Joint negotiation: This step is highly unlikely, but during this process, the parties are brought back together for a final negotiation.
- Closure: If an agreement is reached, the mediator will cover the discussions and main provisions in writing. Both parties sign this document as a summary of their agreement. If individuals do not settle, the mediator will discuss if meeting again is valuable or if the process should be conducted differently.
While this multi-step process is less formal than other legal proceedings, mediation is designed to produce results productively. In some cases, the time that mediation takes is far less than in others. This usually depends on the complexity of the accident and the conditions of the disputes.
Can I Trust the Mediator to Stay Unbiased?
Unlike with other legal processes, the mediator doesn’t decide the outcome of the case. Their job is to resolve the conflict between the individuals and encourage a satisfactory solution for both participants. The mediation process essentially eliminates most biases and allows individuals to reach a fair agreement.
The information discussed with a mediator is confidential and allows participants to feel more comfortable speaking about the case without fear of repercussions. A mediator will objectively explain their thoughts on whether a disputant should lower or raise their settlement offer. For the sake of a clear and thorough decision, the mediator will ask many questions.
While these individuals can’t offer legal advice, they work best in defusing arguments and remaining neutral. Still, it’s crucial to discuss with an experienced personal injury attorney for legal guidance through the process.
Contact Experienced Personal Injury Lawyers in Southeastern Pennsylvania Today
When you’re involved in an accident and sustain injuries because of another person’s negligence, you might be entitled to compensation for medical fees, lost wages, and other financial losses you encounter. Filing a personal injury claim can feel overwhelming, but with an experienced personal injury attorney, you’ll have professional assistance every step of the way.
Our team at Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg & Gifford works hard to provide clients with legal guidance and an advocate for their right to fair compensation. For more information about our services and to discuss with one of our passionate attorneys, call 215-822-7575 or fill out our online contact form.