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Alternative Dispute Resolution: Mediation for a Personal Injury Case

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When dealing with a personal injury due to someone else’s negligence, it’s frustrating to be refused fair compensation. Your injury has completely upended your life; you shouldn’t be left to deal with its consequences alone. The at-fault party should be held accountable. 

Unfortunately, at-fault individuals and their insurance companies may do everything they can to prolong your difficulties and avoid giving you a fair deal. That’s why you’re looking for an experienced law firm, like our team at Eng & Woods Attorneys at Law, to help you get the financial compensation you need to pay off medical bills, cover daily expenses impacted by your inability to work and accommodate for your pain and suffering. 

While you may think your personal injury case must go to court to get the compensation you need, there are instances where an experienced attorney can help you get a favorable financial settlement. One way that two parties can agree on a fair outcome is through mediation for your personal injury case. 

Cultures around the globe have used mediation to resolve disputes for thousands of years, and it can be an effective way to negotiate fair terms for a personal injury case. The attorneys at Eng & Woods have helped many clients find favorable outcomes for their personal injury cases through mediation. 

Stick with us to take a closer look at this alternative dispute resolution, its potential benefits and drawbacks and what to expect in the mediation process.

What to Expect in Mediation for Personal Injury

What Is Mediation?

In a personal injury case, mediation is an informal, non-binding dispute resolution in which an impartial third party, the mediator, facilitates negotiations between the parties to help them reach a settlement. Mediation is considered a form of alternative dispute resolution, which is a method of resolving disputes or cases without going to trial. 

Mediation works differently than litigation, which may favor you when seeking compensation. A savvy attorney will help you determine whether or not mediation is the best course of action for your case. Some differentiators between mediation and litigation include:

  • Mediation rules are not as strict. Most mediators have trial experience and will still create a professional atmosphere, but it is considered an informal engagement. The mediator and the involved parties don’t have to adhere to courtroom rules and can look for different ways to resolve the problem. 
  • The mediator has no authority to rule on the case. The mediator facilitates discussions and hears both sides of the problem. They may suggest a fair settlement, but the resolution is up to the parties to agree upon. The mediator does not make a decision on the merits of the case. If a settlement is agreed upon, it will be sent to the court, and the case will be dismissed.
  • All discussions are kept confidential. In case mediation efforts fail, all conversations are kept confidential to avoid creating bias in a jury before a trial. 

In your personal injury case, a mediator could help facilitate settlement discussions between your representation and the defendant’s representation for a fair amount that could make the injured party whole. Let’s dive into some of mediation’s benefits and potential challenges for a personal injury case.

Five Things You Should Know About Mediation for a Personal Injury Case

If your case moves toward mediation, it’s good to know how it could work in your favor and how it could create roadblocks toward a successful outcome. 

1. Opportunity: A Neutral Party Can Help Facilitate Productive Conversations. 

Unlike a negotiation, having a third party set the table for both sides can lead to more efficient settlement discussions. The team at Eng & Woods always tries to seek a mediator with trial experience, like a retired judge, as individuals with experience know the intricacies of personal injury cases and how they are resolved.

2. Challenge: Mediation Costs. 

Depending on the mediator, they may have an hourly rate that exceeds a logical price point relative to your claim’s value. For example, if a mediator charges $400 an hour and your case is worth $10,000, it may not be worth hiring a mediator. A mediator could be a smart expenditure if your claim is worth $1 million or more. An experienced attorney will help you determine if your case value merits hiring a mediator. 

3. Opportunity: A Chance to Expedite Settlement Talks.

In many instances, insurance companies may try to push your case back as long as possible and delay responding to your attorney’s settlement demand. The defendant’s representative may take several weeks to send a counteroffer. This back-and-forth can add unnecessary stress to your situation as you recover from your injury. 

In a mediation, the communication is expedited and puts both you and the defendant in a place where both parties must focus on the negotiation at hand. 

4. Challenge: Mediations May Have to Be Scheduled Months In Advance.

While mediation can help speed up settlement discussions while you are in session, you may not be able to see a mediator right away. This can lead to a stall in compensation discussions and put you in a difficult position if you are waiting on vital funds to pay off medical bills or other expenses due to a diminished ability to work. A seasoned attorney will do everything they can to have your case seen in a timely manner and will keep you in the loop. 

5. Opportunity: Lessening the Risk of Your Case.

With confidence that you have a solid case, a good attorney will do everything they can to prove it. However, a jury trial means several opinions and voices are involved, making case decisions less predictable. Sometimes, a jury decision can go in your favor; in other cases, you get less than you deserve. In mediation, your case decision comes down to just three parties, ideally led by a mediator who has some experience in resolving legal disputes.

Work with an Attorney Who Will Get You Results

Regardless of where your case ends, you need counsel who will go the distance and fight for you at every step. The team at Eng & Woods is stacked with attorneys who are ready to help you get the most out of your case. 

Each attorney is skilled and has experience in helping clients get the compensation they need regardless of the case resolution. Check out our attorney profiles today. 

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    1000 West Nifong Boulevard, Building 7
    Suite 201
    Columbia, Missouri 65203
    Phone: 573-874-4190
    Fax: 573-874-4192
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