Nearly everyone involved in any type of legal dispute wants to see that dispute resolved as quickly as possible. One way to do that is to make an attempt at mediation, which can often be a better alternative to going to trial or even filing a lawsuit in court. Our Rogers personal injury law firm can help you decide whether to try mediation and if so, we can represent you through the process.
Methods for resolving your personal injury claims
If you have been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, there are basically two ways to receive compensation for that injury. You can either settle the case out of court or obtain a judgment from the court. Although a jury verdict in a civil lawsuit would likely result in a larger recovery, jury verdicts are never guaranteed. Indeed, most personal injury cases settle before trial.
Most people recognize the benefits of mediation
Over the years, there has been a gradual trend away from the lengthy and costly courtroom for resolving legal disputes toward a simpler way to settle those disputes, including mediation. Though mediation is only one type of alternative dispute resolution, it is one of the most common methods used by parties to settle their claims. That is even more common in personal injury cases where both lawyers and insurance adjusters recognize the value of mediation. If you are considering whether mediation may be a good choice for you, discuss your claims with our Rogers personal injury law firm.
What is mediation?
Basically, mediation involves all parties to the legal dispute meeting with a neutral third person (known as the mediator) to discuss the legal issues and attempt to find a solution. The mediator is specifically trained to help people resolve their conflicts without the need to file a lawsuit or continue on to trial. Mediation is always completely voluntary so it can only take place if both sides agree to try. It also means that a settlement can only be reached if both sides agree to its terms.
How does Mediation work?
Unlike a judge or jury in a legal proceeding, the mediator does not make any rulings or decisions, nor does the mediator give any opinions about guilt, innocence or any other legal issue. Nothing that is said by any of the parties during mediation can be used by anyone during the legal proceedings if mediation does not work.
In most cases, the cost of mediation is divided equally between both sides of the dispute. Mediation is meant to be a less formal process that allows the parties to make their positions clear without the stress of a legal proceeding and without the fear of doing something that would result in them losing the case.
What to expect at mediation
Although there may be some variation among different mediators, a mediation session will typically follow the same basic structure. First, the mediator will meet with all parties at the same time to explain how the procedure will go. Then the parties separate into different rooms, between which the mediator will go back and forth discussing the issues and potential resolutions.
It is the mediator’s job to use the information shared by the parties — without revealing that information to either party if it is meant to remain confidential – in order to persuade each side to change their positions until they can reach an agreement to settle. Attorneys nearly always represent their clients at a mediation. If you have questions, consult with our Rogers personal injury law firm.
Why most personal injury cases settle
You may be wondering why cases most often settle. Settlement provides defendants a way to control the financial risk they face, and to avoid legal costs which can be substantial. Settlement also allows defendants to keep the legal issues raised in the lawsuit out of the public eye. For businesses, that can be very important.
Settlement can also be a way to avoid the time involved in a protracted trial. Trials can last for months, if not years; even longer if there is an appeal. For a plaintiff who has been injured and likely needs income, an early settlement would be very appealing. No matter how good your case may seem, whenever the case is filed in court there is always a chance that the plaintiff can lose the case and receive no compensation at all.
If you have questions regarding mediation or any other personal injury issues in Arkansas or Missouri, please contact the Cottrell Law Office for a free consultation, either online or by calling toll-free at (888) 433-4861.
He is licensed to practice law in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas, eastern Arkansas, western Arkansas, and western Missouri. He was Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Crawford County, Kansas from 1987-1989.
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