Will I Need to Go Through Mediation in My Injury Claim?
During your personal injury case, you may have the opportunity to participate in mediation. An attorney is a vital part of this process to protect your interests and help you physically and financially recover from a personal injury.
What is a Mediation Like?
Mediation is a meeting between those involved in a case to discuss a possible agreement or compromise. To protect the interests of both parties, an impartial mediator is present to hear the issue from both sides. Unlike a trial, the decision of the mediator remains negotiable until it is in writing. If a jury were to make a decision, it would be final and binding.
There are private and public mediations. Despite the different names, the information in both meetings are confidential and kept from becoming public record. A public mediation involves a mediator selected by the state, while a private mediation is selectedat the cost of the defendant.
Mediation is beneficial because it:
- Saves time
- Saves money
- Is confidential
- Protects the interests of both parties
- Can prevent a case from becoming public
How Do I Prepare for Mediation?
Your attorney will prepare you for mediation well before the meeting time comes. However, here are a few things to consider before mediation.
1) Preparing What To Say in a Mediation
Your attorney knows the important points to cover during mediation. He or she also knows that what is said can help or hurt a claim, so they may develop a list of things to discuss. Preparing for the meeting is a good way for you and your personal injury attorney to discuss exactly what you want or need from your claim. It also is a good opportunity to anticipate questions from the opposing counsel.
2) Preparing Your Appearance For a Mediation
A mediation is a formal occasion. Wearing appropriate business attire helps to show others that your claim is legitimate and needs to be taken seriously. This meeting can help or hurt your case, so it is vital to do everything you can to appear professional, including arriving on time and sticking to the points you and your attorney discussed.
3) Preparing for Negotiations in a Mediation
Mediators are present at mediations for a reason. If you or the opposing parties start to become upset during the negotiations, express it to the mediator or your attorney. They will mention your concerns without turning the meeting into an argument. This is important because arguments rarely lead to productive outcomes, and in this case they can hurt your claim severely.
What Happens After a Mediation?
Before signing any paperwork at the mediation, discuss the outcome with your attorney. Although the meeting is designed to be a compromise, you may not be getting what you need in the agreement. If you do reach an agreement, be sure to get it in writing. If it isn't written down, it may not be legally binding. An attorney will know to do these things in order to protect your interests.