The Role of Mediation in Personal Injury Claims

Mediation is a useful tool for a wide range of legal issues, often utilized in divorce cases, custody disputes, and other family law issues. It is also an effective option for many personal injury claims. There are numerous benefits of mediation, including a lower cost for both parties and less time spent in court. As you work through your personal injury claim, your attorney can help you determine if mediation is a viable option for you.

Determining Liability

Mediation can be a good way to determine liability, particularly if there are multiple parties. Consider, for example, a multi-car pileup. It’s likely that everyone involved shares some of the liability, but who is actually responsible for paying?

The same is true in a commercial vehicle crash. In a tractor-trailer accident, liable parties may include the truck driver, their employer, the loading company, and the owner of the cargo. No one’s going to step up and accept all of the blame, so you may need to hash it out in mediation. Mediation offers a neutral environment where a third party can help sort out issues of liability.

Figuring Out the Extent of Damages

Once liability is determined, both parties have to agree on how much the accident and injuries are actually worth. It can be difficult to get insurance companies to agree to a full and fair settlement, which is why mediation may be the solution. The mediator can gather information about concessions each side is willing to make and help the parties negotiate a settlement without revealing that information. They may supply evidence provided by each party so that the other side can use it while deciding what their next step is.

Negotiating a Fair Settlement

After everyone involved has agreed on who is responsible for the damage and how much damage has actually occurred, it’s time to talk hard numbers and hammer out the details of a settlement. A lot of factors go into this, including how much liability the victim has, how strong the non-liable party’s proof is, and how much insurance coverage the liable party has.

This is where informal negotiations may go awry, so a neutral mediator can help bring both parties closer to a fair resolution. If there is a huge gap between what each party is willing to agree to, the mediator can work on trying to get those numbers closer together until a compromise is more likely. If the parties’ final numbers are already very close, the mediator can work on helping each side see the benefit of coming to an agreement immediately instead of going to court.

Remember, the mediator cannot force anyone to take an offer or agree to a settlement. At any time, either party can walk away. However, once an agreement has been reached, the official court paperwork can be drawn up, signed, and submitted. This allows you to finish your claim right there during mediation.

Is Mediation the Right Choice for Your Claim?

Wondering if mediation could be the solution to your claim’s stalemate? First, find out if the other party is even open to mediation. While many people can see the benefits of mediation and are willing to try it, there are some insurance companies that won’t even bother with it. They will not send an adjuster, so there’s no point in trying to set up a mediation session. However, if both sides are open to compromise, this could be the way to go.

You’ll also want to think about whether or not an agreement is likely to come out of mediation. If there’s a massive gap between the two numbers being thrown out, the two parties may be looking at the accident in completely different ways. Such a substantial difference is unlikely to be overcome during mediation if informal negotiations have already failed.

Finally, talk to your personal injury attorney. Based on what they know of the other party, they can tell you whether or not they recommend mediation.

Hedge Copeland is Here to Help with Your Personal Injury Claim

The team at Hedge Copeland is ready to take on your personal injury claim and fight for the compensation you deserve. Discover what we can do for you now—just set up a consultation. Call our office at 251-432-8844 or fill out our contact form now.