What to Expect During Personal Injury Mediation
Those who have been injured as a result of another party's negligence or malicious actions may be entitled to compensation. A personal injury attorney can help victims obtain the maximum settlement for their injuries.
Before a settlement is made, it is often necessary for each side involved in the personal injury claim to attend mediation. Personal injury attorney Lynn Harris is experienced in navigating clients through personal injury and mediation negotiations in and around Salt Lake City, UT and can help you get the compensation you deserve.
What's the Purpose of Mediation?
Mediation is a meeting between both sides of a case with the goal to resolve a dispute or claim. When mediation is successful and both sides come to an agreement, it prevents the need for a trial. Avoiding trial is sometimes preferred as it allows for both sides to come to an agreement on a fair settlement while saving time and the costs of going to court.
Who Will Be at the Mediation?
Both sides involved in a personal injury claim will need to be present at mediation. Generally, this includes the injured party, called the plaintiff, and his or her attorney, In addition, the party accused of fault, called the defendant, and his or her attorney.
It's also common for a representative from the defendant's insurance company to be present. Finally, there must a mediator to oversee the meeting.
What Role Does the Mediator Play?
The mediator is someone who is impartial to both the plaintiff and defendant. Both sides typically agree on who will be the mediator to prevent any bias, real or perceived.
The mediator plays an important role in mediations, helping to keep things running smoothly during opening statements, which are allowed by each party, and during negotiations.
The most important role mediators play is messenger for each party. During the negotiation portion of mediation, the plaintiff's party and defendant's party are taken to separate rooms. Everything that is communicated between each side is done so through the mediator.
It's the mediator's job to go from room to room, each time delivering new offers or demands until both parties come to an agreement or decide to go to trial.
What to Expect during Negotiations
Each personal injury dispute is different and as such, negotiations will vary. However, there are some general things that may be expected when negotiating a personal injury settlement.
For instance, it's common for the defense to offer a much lower settlement than the plaintiff is willing to settle for. The defense and the insurance companies want to pay as little as possible. They are aware that the starting number is most likely not going to be accepted, but it's in their interest to start low.
It's important for the plaintiff to understand that the defense is most likely not going to give them what they want right out of the gate. However, the plaintiff does have the right to counter and decline the defense's offer.
In order to reach a fair settlement, both parties may need to compromise and either pay more than they would like or accept slightly less than their highest settlement number.
By the nature of mediation, parties that come to a settlement agreement should find the final number fair. If neither party considers the other party's offer fair, a settlement does not need to be reached in mediation.
What If a Settlement Is Not Reached?
Although the goal of mediation is to resolve a personal injury dispute before it goes to trial, it's not always possible for both parties to come to an agreement both consider fair. When no settlement is reached, both parties can agree to resume mediation at a later date to avoid going to trial or if no agreement seems possible, the dispute will be resolved in court.
Contact Personal Injury Attorney Lynn Harris
If you have been injured in an accident caused by someone else's negligence, you need an experienced personal injury attorney on your side. Personal injury attorney Lynn Harris is experienced in personal injury claims, helping clients get a fair settlement for their injuries. To find out how Lynn Harris can help you, please call (801) 375-9801 or (801) 521-3200 to schedule your personal consultation.