Will Mediation Work for Your Personal Injury Case?
Mediation, or settling out of court, is an option for resolving some personal injury and insurance dispute cases.
When you hire a personal injury attorney to represent you, they should explain what to expect in a case that shares the characteristics of your own. They will give you a possible timeline and the various stages of court proceedings.
One of the things that they might discuss is a process called mediation.
What is Mediation?
In Colorado, mediation is a process that allows parties in a lawsuit to come together to try to reach an agreement about the case. The parties talk about the case and work to reach a resolution that both sides can accept. If the session is successful, the parties to the lawsuit decide the outcome of the case rather than a judge.
How Does Mediation Work?
The court might order you to participate in the process, or you might agree with the other side to try it. The courts typically allow you to choose your own mediator. You work with the mediator and your attorneys to choose a date and location for the mediation to take place.
The Mediation Process
Your session starts with the mediator laying out the ground rules. Usually, both sides have to sign a confidentiality agreement. The mediator discusses giving each side time to talk without interruption. They tell the parties what information they need about the case in order to begin to work towards a resolution.
Depending on the type of case and the individual parties involved, you might stay in the same room for the session, or you might split up into separate rooms. In personal injury cases, you might find that it’s helpful to stay in the same room if there are a lot of technical issues or calculations in the case.
Types of Cases That Use Mediation
Mediation is common in personal injury cases. It allows parties in these cases to reach a resolution much faster than by waiting for trial. It’s also widely used in divorce and custody. Family-law cases, co-parents and divorcing couples often find that the process allows them to create a resolution that is more flexible than the court might order. Criminal law cases do not use alternative dispute resolution.
Facilitative vs Evaluative
In Colorado, the process can be merely facilitative or it can be evaluative. If the process is facilitated, the mediator doesn’t take a side. They try to help the parties evaluate the issues and reach a conclusion on their own.
On the other hand, an evaluative mediator has an opinion. They tell each side their strengths and weaknesses. They can say in no uncertain terms who they think is right.
Will Mediation Work For Me?
Maybe you dream about your day in court. Maybe you dread it. Either way, the truth is that most cases resolve before trial. It might not happen on the day of your session, but the truth is that most parties are able to find an acceptable resolution to their case.
This is especially true in cases where liability or fault is clear. This is also true in obvious breach of contract cases. Cases that are less likely to settle include custody and divorce cases. There are few contested court cases that are more emotional and even subjective than family court cases, and this can lead to fewer agreements during dispute resolution proceedings.
Even these cases, however, the parties usually find a way to work it out without a trial.
What You Can Do to Mediate Your Personal Injury Case
It helps to arrive at your session organized. Spend some time thinking about your case, and bring any evidence that you think is critical. Make a list of issues that you think are the most important. Make some notes of things that you want to discuss that are your most critical points to resolve as part your session.
Working with an attorney can help you, too. Your attorney can help you form realistic expectations, and they can help you identify the issues that are the most important. They can also give you advice on when to accept a settlement. With some planning, the chances are good that you can reach a result that allows you to resolve your case and get back to your life.
Whether you’ve been in a car accident or have an insurance dispute to settle, the Babcock Law Firm can provide you with counsel or mediation advice. Contact us today for a free consultation to see how we can help.