Personal Injury Mediation & Negotiation
Are You a Victim of Personal Injury Due to Someone’s Negligent, Reckless, or Intentional Behavior?
If you are, you may bring a claim against that person, who may involve his or her insurance company to potentially pay your claim.
Many people hire lawyers, as do the insurance companies involved. Frequently, these lawyers hire a mediator/negotiator to resolve the settlement before trial – – sometimes before a lawsuit is filed.
Hiring an experienced, skillful mediator can save time and money, allowing you to get your settlement as quickly as possible. Otherwise, you might be involved in protracted litigation that could take months or even years to settle.
Types of personal injury cases:
- Vehicle accidents
- Unclean water.
- Land hazards.
- Medical malpractice.
- Workplace accidents.
- Products liability.
- Dangerous drugs.
- Airplane accidents.
- Wrongful deaths.
Mediation is a preferred way of resolution in personal injury cases because it is a private, confidential, non-adversarial negotiation process resolves differences or disputes that is conducted by an impartial party, a mediator, with the purpose of bringing about a mutually acceptable resolution and settlement. The purpose is to help people communicate with one another, to understand each other and to reach an agreement that satisfies everyone’s needs and preferences. It is an alternative to going to trial that will save time and money. In mediation, there is no judge or jury that will make decisions. Instead, the parties involved make the agreements. Mediation is a form of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and can be utilized in many legal disputes, including personal injury of all types such as medical malpractice, dog bites, slip and fall, car crashes, truck wrecks, business disputes, and other injuries, if both parties agree to discuss the issues.
In a personal injury case, the mediator used is agreed upon by both attorneys or both parties if attorneys have not yet been hired.
When is mediation used in a personal injury case?
If negotiations between an accident victim’s personal injury attorney or the accident victim himself and the insurance company fail to reach an agreeable settlement after negotiations, a lawsuit is then filed. In short, this means that the insurance company’s highest offer has been rejected by the client and the next phase of the legal process is begun. Filing a lawsuit means that the case will be scheduled to be presented and argued in a trial in front of a judge and jury to decide what is just.
Mediation is a voluntary process. However, most all personal injury cases will be ordered by the judge to undergo mediation or the parties themselves will realize that mediation is a good option and worth the time. In that case, the parties choose mediation from the very beginning of the process or as soon as possible after a case has been filed. Mediation can be utilized at any time during an injury case, not just before or after a lawsuit has been filed, and in personal injury cases, it is known to save time, money, and stress.
There are additional items that are helpful to understand in personal injury mediation.
- ConfidentialityAs a basic rule, everything that is said in the personal injury mediation is confidential and cannot be used in court. The defense attorney can’t cross-examine a party at trial and ask, “Didn’t you say at mediation . . .” However, if a party reveals a new treating doctor or another witness at mediation, the defense can obtain information from them. A helpful distinction is that while statements themselves can’t be used against a party, the information in those statements may. Generally, any fact that is relevant or probative to the case is discoverable and cannot be hidden.
- ImpartialityThe mediator does not take sides and will not give either side legal advice about their case. The mediator’s job is not to determine a winner or loser, but merely to facilitate communication between the two sides and help the two sides reach a settlement. He or she may play devil’s advocate while alone with each side to help them see the other’s point of view. However, in the interest of justice, fairness, and good mediation, a competent mediator can discuss relevant principles and laws to the parties without giving legal advice. Remember, the parties can always seek independent third-party legal and accounting advice elsewhere.
- Risk factorsThe purpose of mediation is to allow each side to fully explore the risk factors that affect their case. This will be the only opportunity that each of the parties’ attorneys will have to point out the risks facing the other side directly to the opposing party.
- CompromiseTo settle the case, each side will have to compromise. Neither party rarely receives everything that he or she wants from the case or that could be won at trial. The defendant does not expect you to walk out empty handed, either, as you would if you lost at trial. Somewhere between a win a solid win at trial or a solid loss at trial lies a settlement figure both sides can live with. The point of mediation is to see if both sides can agree on that number. There are always mixed feelings that accompany compromise that are based on the loss one feels in not getting an idealized solution.
- ClosureIf the parties settle the case at mediation, the Plaintiff will get her or his money in about a month or so, depending on medical liens which need to be resolved. If the parties do not settle their case in mediation, the Plaintiff could end up waiting months and sometimes years before getting paid, assuming the Plaintiff wins at trial. A good mediated settlement avoids the stresses of a lawsuit and allows a Plaintiff to get on with his or her life.
- ControlAt personal injury mediation mediation, the parties control the outcome of the case. At trial, the jury will. Jury trials have uncertain outcomes under the best of circumstances. The same case tried before two different juries can have two completely different outcomes. In fact, this has happened, when a jury verdict is overturned on appeal and a case is re-tried before a different jury.
Our Unique Approach to Personal Injury Mediation
We are mediators and negotiators who approach dispute resolution using a unique synthesis of methods. With backgrounds in psychoanalysis, finance and the law, we draw on communications theory, game theory, psychoanalysis and the law to analyze disputes and facilitate dispute resolution. When parties feel secure that their interests are understood they can own the outcome and move beyond conflict. In highly charged conflicts like personal injury mediations, we tailor the mediation style to the conflict in the most sensitive manner. Preparation, thorough analysis and agreements to commit to the process underpin our mediation process, so you can be confident that your mediation will resolve to the satisfaction of all parties.