After someone has suffered a personal injury due to the negligence of another or lost a loved one after an accident, often times their first reaction is something along the lines of “I will see you in court”.
While it is true that many cases do not settle and go all the way to a jury trial, frequently the more logical and cost effective method of resolving the dispute is through mediation.
According to the Texas Association of Mediators, mediation is a confidential process used to resolve conflicts in an amicable manner. An impartial mediator directs the process and facilitates the communication between the parties in an effort to explore solutions and obtain a mutually satisfactory agreement. In the personal injury world, mediation typically occurs either prior to the filing of a lawsuit or after suite has been filed and all discovery, depositions, and other pre-trial matters have been completed.
One thing I often tell my clients about mediation is that it gives you the power to determine the outcome of your case. Once you go to trial, the outcome will be determined by six to twelve strangers that are often times unpredictable in their decisions.
Here are some other advantages to mediation:
- Mediation is faster; taking a case to trial often takes years before the case can be heard
- Mediation is inexpensive
- Discussions at mediation are private as opposed to a public trial
- Allows the plaintiff to move on with their life
Although mediation in personal injury cases has many positives for both the plaintiff and the defendant, it also can leave both parties a little unsatisfied with the results. For instance, many plaintiffs end up feeling that their case was worth a little bit more than what they settled for at mediation. On the same token, most insurance companies and defendants feel like they paid a little more than they expected.
Infographic: How a Personal Injury Case Works
After an accident, a personal injury lawyer can help you afford to get the care you need. But how does the process work? Check out this infographic for a brief explanation of what to expect when you sign up with a personal injury attorney. Whether it was a car accident, serious truck crash, wrongful death or dog bite - most cases follow a similar pattern.
In a recent pre-suit mediation, I had a client that decided to settle his case even though the mediator and myself thought the case was worth a little bit more money. The reason being was that if he chose to go forward with trial, his ultimate verdict would be reduced by the high expenses associated with trial. Hiring experts, taking depositions, and trying a case create significant additional expenses. With these additional costs in mind, my client realized that he would end up with more money if he settled at mediation as opposed to receiving a larger verdict at trial minus the additional expenses.
For these reasons, it is very important to hire an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you correctly evaluate your case value and counsel you to the highest possible recovery.