After a person has been injured or lost a family member because of a personal injury, he or she may not want to relive another emotional trying experience by going through litigation. In these types of cases, victims may turn to personal injury mediation to help them more quickly resolve their claims and have closure of the accident. Personal injury mediation is an alternative process to litigation and can offer victims solace during a difficult time.
During mediation, each party meets with the neutral mediator. This mediator has special training to assist individuals with reaching a satisfactory agreement in a case. Because mediation is a voluntary process, it is not involved in every personal injury case. A settlement is only reached if both parties agree to it. The mediator’s role is to stay neutral and not inject his or her own personal opinions. He or she also has no authority to make a decision in a case. Instead, the parties have this responsibility. If they do not reach an agreement, they will simply proceed in the same manner as they were before the mediation began.
Typically, mediation will begin with all of the parties and their respective legal counsel together in the same room. Then, the parties may be separated in caucuses in which they meet privately with the mediator and share their opinions and offered terms of settlement. The mediator then meets with the other party to share some of this information to try to guide the parties to an agreement that will be satisfactory to both of them, while always maintaining the requested confidentiality.