A form of alternative dispute resolution, mediation is typically offered as an alternative to traditional litigation because with it you can avoid the high costs and longevity of a traditional lawsuit held in the courts. Mediation is most often used in family courts, such as divorce cases, housing court, small claims court, and personal injury cases. It can also be used for civil and business agreements, premarital agreements, alimony, and child custody.
Mediation happens outside of a courtroom, is led by a trained neutral third party (the mediator), and is conducted confidentially so it won’t be a matter of public record. Acting as a facilitator in the situation, a mediator is there to assist both parties through the process of coming to a conclusion together. The process of the mediation session will vary depending on the mediator but typically both parties are placed in separate rooms and the mediator will move back and forth between each party.
Great mediators are trustworthy, objective, knowledgeable in negotiation techniques, and effective listeners, communicators, and problem solvers. Mediators have no authority to render an agreement or resolution to a conflict. It is the responsibility of the parties involved to come to a final agreement, the mediator does not make that decision.
Mediation can happen at any point during the case, prior to a lawsuit being filed, or anytime during the litigation process. Sometimes mediations never happen in the course of a case, and sometimes a judge will order that the parties mediate in an attempt to resolve the case without going to trial.
Benefits of Mediation for your Personal Injury Case
- Flexible: Despite a few limitations, mediation allows for some flexibility in how and what the final settlement will look like.
- Non-adversarial and less stressful. Both parties are kept separate. There is no testifying or cross-examination as there would be in open court.
- The settlement is one that both parties discussed and mutually agreed upon. The mediator is simply there to guide both parties to meet in the middle and find terms they can both agree on. The mediator themselves cannot make the final decision.
- Binding: Once agreed upon, the final settlement is considered binding
- Saves money. Despite the high costs of a reputable mediator, typically these fees are less than what would be paid for taking a case through the court system.
Cons to Using Mediation to Settle Your Personal Injury Case
Sometimes there is no benefit to using a mediator and just because one party suggests mediation as an option, does not mean you have to agree to it. While it is considered a cost effective alternative to a formal lawsuit, it may not be the most beneficial choice and could end up costing more in the long run.
At Johnson | Livingston, we always strive to have the best interests of our clients in mind and because of this, typically we are not the first to bring up meditation. Unless we are completely satisfied with how negotiations have been going up to that point and are 100% certain that both parties can come together and make a good faith attempt to resolve the matter, we will decide against participating in a mediation session.
In some cases, no form of negotiating is going to get a party to settle and some types of personal injury cases are not suited for negotiations. We want our clients to get the most out of their time and money during a personal injury case and if we feel that going to mediation isn’t going to result in a favorable outcome or and won’t have any forward impact on the negotiations, we won’t advise agreeing to it.
How Can a Utah Personal Injury Attorney Help?
A personal injury attorney can help you decide if mediation is the next best step in your personal injury case, and help prepare you for a meditation session. We are here to assist you in achieving the best possible outcome in your case, whether that involves mediation or taking your case to court for a trial judgment.
Contact us Today to Learn more about Mediation for your Personal Injury Case
Do you have questions about your personal injury case? Don’t try to handle it alone. Johnson | Livingston can get you answers and support you in settling your case.
For more information about our mediation services, contact us online or call us at (801) 948-9670 to speak with a member of our team.