If you have been injured in a car accident and are interested in pursing legal action (or you already have), then you may be wondering if there is any way possible to avoid the costs and lengthy duration of a trial. Luckily, there is: mediation.
What Exactly Is Mediation and How Does It Work?
Mediation is one of the several programs that are available for resolving disputes. Mediation helps individuals who are unable to come to an agreement on their own stay out of the courtroom while working out their legal issues.
After a vehicle accident, the parties will sit down in a room with a third-party mediator. This mediator will be the facilitator of the discussion between the individuals in the room. The process will begin by each individual presenting their case - with their facts - and making their demands. At this point, the mediator may step in and explain the benefits and pitfalls of each demand. However, he or she will not push for one offer over the other. If both parties are able to reach an agreement, the case can be settled right there without the need to later go to court. However, if neither party can agree with one another, the mediation was essentially a flop and litigation will proceed.
When compared to traditional litigation, mediation is very often a more time- and cost-effective option. However, it isn't one that always works, so it is important to keep that in mind.
Do You Need an Attorney if You Choose Mediation?
An attorney is not in any way required to be in a mediation session with you. However, it doesn't mean that you can't have one on stand-by for guidance. A lawyer can help you in a number of ways. While every case is different, an attorney can evaluate your personal injury claim so that you know how much of a monetary award you could potentially expect out of your case. A lawyer can also look at the settlement offer from the other party and help you understand the consequences of accepting and/or denying the offer.
Before stepping into a mediation, an attorney can help you understand what to expect throughout the process. While many people know that a low offer will be thrown at them at first and that a counteroffer should be made, they aren't sure how much it should be. In some cases, the other side may be using legal terminology that is tripping you up and causing you to feel that you have holes in your case. Contact a personal injury attorney before you go into mediation to get some understanding of the process or to even have someone handle all the negotiations for you.