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Does Mediation Work in Personal Injury Cases?

Your Guide to Settling Personal Injury Cases With Mediation

Did you know that roughly only 10% of lawsuits actually end up going to trial? Instead of being decided in front of a judge and jury, most civil disputes end up being settled through pretrial negotiations and mediations. If you're considering a personal injury lawsuit, it is helpful to understand how mediation works.

What Is Mediation?

Mediation is a type of formal meeting that can help to settle legal disputes. During the litigation process for a personal injury case, you have the option of asking the other party if they would like to arrange mediation. If they agree, both parties meet at a neutral location with an official mediator. This unbiased mediator will hear both sides of the dispute. Then they will make a recommendation about how to proceed with the case. Mediation is essentially somewhere between negotiation and an informal trial. Neither party is bound to follow the mediator's recommendation, and both can make suggestions for the type of settlement they would prefer. However, if both parties agree to do what the mediator says, they can sign a settlement. This allows you to skip the trial and move on with your life.

Benefits of Using Mediation in Personal Injury Cases

One of the biggest benefits of mediation is that it saves time. Going through a full trial can be a pretty lengthy process with a lot of formal paperwork, depositions, and discussions. Meanwhile, mediation can be a bit faster. You can just quickly agree to show up with all your basic evidence and discuss the issue face to face. This makes the process ideal for those who need settlement money as quickly as possible. Due to its faster timeline, mediation is usually more affordable. You don't have to spend thousands of dollars preparing a case with the help of a whole team of lawyers. Instead, you just get an Allentown personal injury lawyer to help prepare a simple outline of your case, and then you pay a mediation facility a small fee. People also tend to like mediation because it isn't quite as strict. If a personal injury claim goes to court, you have to just accept whatever decision the judge or jury makes. Meanwhile, mediation is more flexible. You can ask for whatever settlement amount you would like, and you only have to agree to the final terms if you think they are satisfactory. Therefore, mediation does not risk you automatically getting a disappointing verdict.

Is Mediation Legally-Binding?

Just agreeing to mediation does not legally bind you to anything. If you do not like the mediator's recommendations, you can walk away. A mediator is not a judge, and they cannot force you to do anything. If no agreement is reached in mediation, you just go back to the standard litigation process. Anything said during mediation cannot be used in your actual trial. Though mediation itself is not legally binding, it can be used to create legally binding documents. The whole goal of mediation is to reach a settlement. This is a type of contract where both parties agree to certain demands from the other. In a personal injury case, common settlements often include one party giving you a lump sum in return for you agreeing to not sue or speak about the matter anymore. If you reach a settlement, it is just as binding as any other legal contract. Breaking it may have certain consequences, and you usually cannot appeal the decision to a higher court.

How to Get a Satisfying Settlement From Mediation

Mediation can be a great tool, but it doesn't work for every personal injury case. To get the best outcome possible, you still need to work with a lawyer and prepare a coherent argument. The right preparation and evidence can help you get a more satisfying settlement. If you would like to see if mediation is right for your personal injury case, Metzger & Kleiner is happy to help. Our Allentown personal injury lawyer firm has plenty of experience handling both mediations and trials for personal injury lawsuits. To arrange a free consultation, call 610-435-7400 or send us a message.

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