Is Mediation Helpful for a Personal Injury Case?

At Correll Law Firm, the great bulk of our cases settle without any need for a trial. But getting to “yes” is difficult, to say the least. Many of our clients seek substantial compensation from defendants and their insurers, and the parties on the other side of a dispute often put up a stiff fight.

Mediation is an established alternative dispute resolution (ADR) technique. In some states, personal injury victims are sent off to mediation by a judge, and participation is mandatory. The common practice in Virginia is more flexible. You might have a mandatory settlement conference—or not. Nonetheless, mediation is an option for helping two sides in a dispute find common ground.

At Correll Law Firm, our Winchester personal injury lawyer will pull out all the stops to win fair and reasonable compensation for his clients. He can also attend mediation if it proves helpful at obtaining money for bodily injuries and related losses. Call us today if you were injured in an accident and want to discuss your chances of receiving compensation.

What is Mediation?

Mediation involves two sides in a legal dispute meeting with a neutral third party, the mediator. A mediator will help clarify the points of disagreement but also try to get each side to listen to the other. Mediators are not judges but usually lawyers with training in how to run mediation. They should also have deep experience in the law that applies to the dispute.

After each side explains the conflict, the mediator might ask them to each go into separate rooms. This is called “caucusing.” The mediator moves back and forth, sharing their perspective on the dispute: strengths, weaknesses, and so on.

The mediator is neutral and objective. Their goal is not to force you to accept anything. Instead, they want to help you better see the dispute.

Mediation can take multiple sessions, if necessary, or you might only attend one session. If each side can reach an agreement, then they will sign a settlement agreement. The case can wrap up early. Some people love mediation because they believe it saves each side time and money.

Mediation & Personal Injury Cases

Mediation is not as common in personal injury law when compared to divorce or child custody. Nonetheless, many people find it helpful.

If successful, you can reach agreement with the defense on your personal injury case. The principal issue in dispute is how much the defendant should pay in compensation. You would then write up a settlement agreement, reviewed by your attorneys, and sign it. The agreement usually includes a release of claims, which means you can’t go ahead and seek more compensation from the defendant in the future.

Mediation often helps our clients get to “yes” without the need of a trial. Litigating your case all the way to a jury trial can take a year or longer. Some people are stuck in litigation for several years. One mediation session might be all you need to break through logjams and obtain a fair settlement.

How to Approach Mediation

Nobody should mediate a dispute without a lawyer present. It’s too easy to agree to a settlement proposal without thinking through your other options. Remember, the mediator is neutral, which means they are not looking out for your best interest. Only a lawyer can do that.

For example, if mediation fails, you can continue to negotiate and ultimately end up in court. If you believe your evidence is strong, then there’s less incentive to accept a small settlement. In fact, you can usually be aggressive in negotiation, including mediation, because you like your odds if your case goes to trial.

At Correll Law Firm, our Winchester personal injury lawyer will research recent settlements. We have a good idea of how much your case is worth. We also check the defendant’s resources. Some defendants have only a small insurance policy which might not cover much of your losses. Other defendants (like businesses) will have larger liability policies and can pay out much more.

Mediation also requires being a good listener. Sometimes the other side will slip up and reveal their defense strategy or other interesting information. We can put this information to good use by, for example, searching for other helpful evidence.

Our lawyer goes over any settlement agreement with a microscope. We make sure your rights are protected and you are paid by the defendant for your injuries.

Should You Request Mediation?

We don’t mediate every dispute at Correll Law Firm. It is sometimes helpful when:

1.       The defendant insists on mediation and won’t agree to settlement without participating.

2.       Your evidence is weak, and you want to avoid going to trial, where you might lose.

3.       The defendant is hard to communicate with, and mediation allows us to meet in a conference room, face to face, to discuss the dispute.

4.       It isn’t obvious what the disagreement is, so mediation can clarify the stakes of the litigation.

5.       The insurance company is engaging in bad faith, and we want to put pressure on them by requesting mediation.

Let us discuss with you how mediation will fit into your case (if at all). We can also discuss how to select a mediator and who pays for the services. Choosing a good mediator is half the battle. There are thousands of people offering their services, and not all of them are appropriate for your case.

Call Our Firm to Discuss Your Accident

Correll Law Firm has a strong reputation in personal injury law and is always glad to meet with members of the Winchester community to discuss their accidents. We have years of experience negotiating on behalf of victims who were hurt by car, truck, or premises liability claims, among others. We understand how frustrating it is to seek compensation, only to be told “no.” The good news is we can turn the “no” into a “yes” if you reach out and hire our firm today. Contact us at 540-535-2005 to schedule a free consultation.