What is Mediation, and Does it Work?
In this series of blog posts, I have been breaking down the phases in the life of a normal personal injury case. My goal has been to help make this seemingly-complicated process more accessible and understandable for injured people who may not have been through it before. We’ve covered several topics in earlier posts: dealing with the insurance company, filing a lawsuit, the meaning of the term “negligence,” and the discovery process. You may want to catch up on these topics before continuing. This blog post will talk about the mediation process and negotiating with the help of your lawyer.
Steps in Your Personal Injury Case – Mediation
Once your personal injury case has been pending for a period of time (usually at least 300 days, but often longer), your lawyer will let you know that it is time to schedule mediation. Mediation is a conference in which both sides and their lawyers meet with a neutral third-party called a mediator. The purpose is to attempt to settle the case. Every county in South Carolina now requires mediation of most types of civil jury cases. However, no one can make you settle. You won’t have to do anything other than participate in the mediation process in good faith.
Mediation begins with opening statements by both sides. During this time, each lawyer will talk about the strengths of their respective case. You will likely have an opportunity to speak if you want to. Once the mediator has heard from both sides, the parties usually go into separate rooms. Then, the mediator will spend some time talking with each side. You and your lawyer will come up with an initial settlement demand, and the mediator will take that number to the other side. In most mediations, the mediator will pass offers and demands back and forth between the parties until a settlement is reached (or the mediation fails).
Settlement in your Personal Injury Case – Considering Risk and Reward
No one will force you to settle your personal injury case at mediation. However, you need to know that there are always risks involved if you decide to take your case to trial. You may be convinced that your case is rock solid, that the defendant is completely at fault, and that your injuries are totally related to the accident. However, a jury may disagree with you. Mediation gives both sides the chance to take away the risk of losing.
Hofler Law Firm Offers Help to Injured People
If you have suffered a personal injury because of the actions of someone else, you may be entitled to compensation. I am a certified mediator myself. I am familiar with both the mediation process and civil litigation in general, and I want to meet you. Contact Hofler Law Firm today to schedule a free consultation.