The civil court process can be long, expensive, and adversarial. It rarely leaves both parties happy, and it takes away all the power from the plaintiff and defendant. That’s why mediation, a remedy often used in family law, is becoming increasingly popular with personal injury claims. It offers options to those who want to explore other avenues before resorting to a drawn-out lawsuit.
Have you suffered an injury due to someone else’s negligence? You could be entitled to compensation. The team at Peake & Fowler is here to help. Call us at 803-788-4370 to schedule a consultation now.
Resolving Disputes Before Court
There are lots of benefits that come with resolving personal injury claims before they reach the courtroom. That’s why so many cases ultimately do settle out of court—this is the ideal outcome for both parties, assuming that a fair agreement can be reached.
There are several ways this can happen. The first option is informal negotiations, which generally occur between the liable party’s insurance company and the victim or their attorney. This allows the parties to draw up a settlement agreement and conclude the matter without involving outside parties.
Mediation is the next step up. Perhaps negotiations yielded some progress, but one party refused to compromise further. Maybe both sides want to reach an agreement but are unable to compromise because they don’t want to be taken advantage of.
Mediation, which involves a neutral third party to guide and oversee negotiations, seeks to solve these issues. A neutral third party can help both parties understand what they risk by going to court and give them insight into what the other side is offering.
What Happens in Mediation
First, a mediator is agreed upon by both parties. This ensures that one side cannot unilaterally choose a mediator who is more likely to side with them. This helps both parties establish confidence in the mediation process. From there, the two parties meet with the mediator.
In the beginning, both sides speak to the mediator in front of the other party. The mediator gets a better understanding of the issues at hand and what both sides believe to be a fair outcome. Negotiations may begin with both parties communicating with the other in the presence of the mediator. If they cannot communicate in a productive way, they may split into two rooms and have all communication go through the mediator. This process is known as “caucusing”.
Outcomes vary. Either party may leave mediation at any point. The parties may come to an agreement through mediation and formalize it in a settlement. Or both sides may realize that they will not come to a fair agreement and choose to move forward with a lawsuit.
The Benefits of Mediation
One of the benefits of mediation is the privacy it offers. You can come to a fair agreement without having your personal information dragged out in the courtroom. Additionally, you may find that involving a third party encourages the other party to negotiate in good faith.
Mediation can also be much less expensive than going to court if both sides are able to come to an agreement. Nothing discussed during mediation can be used in court, so both sides are free to negotiate openly. Since your attorney already has the documentation from informal negotiations, you do not need to do extensive work or preparation for mediation.
The Drawbacks of Mediation
Mediation is a costly option if it does not result in a settlement, as you’ll still need to move forward with a lawsuit. It may be a waste of your time if the other party is completely unwilling to negotiate in good faith and only attends mediation to meet a requirement before going to court.
All things considered, mediation could be a good option to help resolve a personal claim injury. Our team can help you compare all the paths available to you.
Consider All of Your Options with Peake & Fowler
The team at Peake & Fowler is committed to fighting for full and fair compensation on behalf of every client. Whether you’ve suffered a fall, a car accident, or an animal bite, let us guide you through your next steps. Contact us or call us at 803-788-4370 to get started.