The Role of Mediation in Personal Injury Claims

The Role of Mediation in Personal Injury Claims

The personal injury claim process is generally pretty straightforward, but changing trends have given accident victims options. Beyond informal negotiations and a lawsuit, you can also consider mediation. This resolution method has been used successfully in several areas of law, and it’s starting to change how personal injury claims are settled out of court.

Whether you’re considering mediation or not, it’s important to have a strong team of personal injury attorneys on your side. Call the team at Whibbs Stone Barnett at 850-500-1111 to set up a consultation today.

When Negotiations Stall

Mediation is an option that often comes up when negotiations have stalled or gone in circles. Remember, most personal injury claims settle during informal negotiations. Neither the liable party nor the victim really wants to go to court, and negotiations give them a way to avoid that. However, if the two parties are just too far apart on what they consider to be a fair settlement, negotiations may be unsuccessful.

In the past, the only option was to move forward with a lawsuit. This could be time-consuming and expensive on both sides. With mediation, there is a third option that is often less expensive and less stressful.

The Mediation Process

The mediation process is fairly similar to informal negotiation. However, there is a neutral third party involved. The third party guides negotiations, identifies areas of disconnect between the involved parties, and helps them understand where they may be able to compromise.

When a mediator is selected, a date and time will be set. Both parties and their attorneys attend. The mediator explains the process and gives both sides a chance to explain their point of view.

From there, the mediator guides a back-and-forth discussion. In many cases, these conversations happen face-to-face. If conversations are too heated or unproductive, the parties may go into separate rooms. The mediator delivers messages between the two parties.

Both sides may choose to communicate privately with the mediator to give them important information. For example, they may tell the mediator that they are asking for a certain amount but are willing to settle for a lower amount if the other side offers it. The mediator can help the other side come to a similar compromise.

If there is enough compromise, the parties will come to a fair settlement. The paperwork will be drawn up, signed, and delivered to the court. If mediation is unsuccessful or either side walks out, the plaintiff can move forward with a lawsuit.

Is Mediation the Right Choice for Your Claim?

For mediation to work for your claim, several elements have to be present. First, both sides have to be willing to participate. Some insurance companies do not participate in mediation because of the time and energy it takes up. Others refuse to negotiate further when informal negotiations end.

Second, you must be willing to compromise. If you’re unwilling to accept anything more than what you’ve already told them, mediation will likely just be another speed bump on the way to a lawsuit.

Finally, you have to be able to find a personal injury mediator in your area. Since mediation is relatively new in this area of law, it can be a struggle to find a skilled personal injury mediator that both sides agree to use.

Knowing What to Expect

You can discuss this option with your attorney if it interests you. Since they have been handling communication with the insurance company, they’ll let you know whether or not they think it’s a good choice. If the insurance company has not yet negotiated in good faith, your attorney may very well think that mediation is a waste of time.

They’ll also tell you what additional preparation (if any) is required. Generally, you use the same evidence and information presented during informal negotiations. However, your attorney may want to do additional preparation to secure a favorable outcome.

Contact Whibbs Stone Barnett and Start Your Claim Now

When you’re injured due to someone else’s negligence, you need a strong attorney to hold them accountable. We’re here to fight for every bit of compensation you deserve. To talk about your claim and decide on your next steps, call us at 850-500-1111 or reach out to us online.