What is Mediation?

Mediation is a very common event in personal injury cases that go to litigation. They can also happen before a lawsuit is filed, but that is less common. Most clients don’t understand what mediation is, so I’m writing this blog post to help you all learn more about how mediation can affect your case.

At its most simple, mediation is an event where an independent person discusses a case with the parties to try to help them reach a settlement. Usually the mediation will take place at a neutral location, although sometimes it happens at one of the lawyers’ offices. The mediation is usually an experienced lawyer or former judge who has seen a lot of cases similar to the one being mediated.

Mediation usually does not involve meeting the other side face to face. That rarely is good for negotiations or the parties. By the time a lawsuit has got far enough that mediation is happening, the parties usually don’t like each other very much. That’s why in most mediations the parties will have separate rooms to sit in while the mediator talks to the other side.

So why does mediation work? Well, when two sides are heavily involved in a case, they can get so absorbed in their own arguments that it can be very hard to see the other side’s point of view. Therefore, if a mediator comes in, that person can explain the weaknesses of a person’s case to him or her making them understand the danger of going to trial.

If mediation fails to cause a settlement, trial could be the result. Mediation is often the best chance the parties have at settling a case, and if it doesn’t happen then, it may not happen at all. Having said that, a fair number of cases settle after mediation as well.

If you have a personal injury lawyer, they should explain the process of mediation to you before the day itself. He or she will help guide you through the process. Every  jurisdiction is different in how mediations are conducted. Some courts even require mediation in every case. If you do not have a lawyer, you may be able to talk to a lawyer for free if you can find one that offers a free consultation