Can a Personal Injury Lawsuit Be Settled During Mediation?
The purpose of mediation is to try and resolve a dispute before going to trial. Sometimes mediation is voluntary, however, it is usually required before a judge will allow your case to go to trial. This is generally the last chance to avoid a trial, which can take a significant amount of time and money to the process.
The New Jersey personal injury attorneys at the Lynch Law Firm, PC are available to discuss your claim in a free case review. Our attorneys understand the financial and emotional challenges injured victims and their families face, which is why we do not bill you for our services unless we win compensation. We can discuss mediation and other aspects of the legal process in a free consultation.
What is Mediation?
If your case is sent to mediation, your lawyer and the insurance company’s lawyer will need to agree on who to use as a mediator. The mediator is a neutral third party. Both sides must also agree on a date, time and place to meet with the mediator.
Mediation can be a great way to settle a case and save time and money for both sides involved. Sometimes going to trial can be expensive, time-consuming and there is always a chance you could lose your case.
The accomplished lawyers at the Lynch Law Firm, PC have experience handling the mediation process and negotiating with insurers for the maximum compensation.
What the Mediator Does
The mediator will introduce all parties involved and each person’s role in the case. He or she should be an unbiased person who has no allegiance to either side and whose main purpose is to help the opposing sides come to a mutual agreement.
Although the mediator can suggest certain resolutions to either side, he or she cannot make decisions without gaining approval from both sides. He or she is simply there to hear both sides of the story and make suggestions to resolve the issue, so that both sides agree with the outcome.
Mediation is usually a private process, which means anything you say to the mediator cannot be used in court. However, if both sides do come to a mutual agreement, it will be signed by both sides and submitted to the court record.
If both sides cannot come to an agreement during mediation, the case may need go to trial, unless the judge pushes for another attempt at mediation.
Best Practices at Mediation
Even though nothing you say can be held against you in a court of law, it is important not to show your cards too soon. For example, if you and your lawyer are seeking a certain amount of compensation, it may be a good idea to ask for a little more so there is room for negotiation. That way you may end up receiving your desired amount when the negotiating period is over.
Some general rules about mediation include:
- There are no court rules of evidence that can be applied.
- Mediation is non-adversarial, meaning the mediator does not pick a winner and there is no cross-examination.
- It is flexible with some limitations, which means both parties can get creative with their settlement proposals.
- All agreements must be accepted by both sides, neither the mediator nor the court can force either side to accept a settlement.
- If you do reach an agreement and sign it at mediation, it is legally binding and enforceable in court.
If you have any questions about mediation, call the Lynch Law Firm, PC today to schedule a complimentary review of your claim.
What Happens After Mediation?
If you reach an agreement at mediation, a settlement can be drafted and signed by both parties the same day. The settlement is then enforceable; however, it may need to be typed up and additional paperwork may need to be filled out by both parties before it can be entered into the court record.
Speak with a Licensed Attorney About Your Claim
It is important to speak with a licensed attorney about a potential claim. Insurers may try to convince you your claim does not qualify for compensation. However, the attorneys from our firm are committed to your best interests and pursuing maximum compensation for your damages.
The Lynch Law Firm, PC has decades of legal experience protecting the rights of the injured throughout New Jersey. Our firm has obtained over $300 million in verdicts and settlements.*
Call (800) 518-0508 to set up a free consultation with a licensed attorney.