May 11, 2015 • Legal Terminology
Your case is scheduled to begin trial in just two weeks, and now the defense calls for negotiations and wants to mediate the case. What happens next?
What is Mediation?
When the defense says they would like to mediate the case, what does it mean? It means they want to engage in settlement negotiations. However, they do not want to do it privately, and they do not want to wait until trial to get in front of the judge to attempt to negotiate.
The defense wants to set you up into a private negotiation session, which is what mediation is. Here, you have the ability to go before an impartial judge who will now listen to each side. Mediation is really an opportunity for you to have settlement negotiations in a tranquil setting.
Choosing a Mediator
Both sides will hire a private impartial mediator that both agree on. Once both sides have agreed on who is going to be the impartial mediator, you should be ready to spend half or the full day involved in the negotiations. You and your lawyer will grasp and have the opportunity to speak to the mediator and explain to him why you believe your case is worth a certain amount of money. The defense on the other hand will tell the mediator that even though you are entitled to something, they do not believe it is as much as your side has mentioned to the mediator.
Both Parties have the Opportunity to Present their Case
Here both parties will have the opportunity to present and discuss all the details in the case. The impartial mediator will try to mediate and negotiate the particular case with the hope and expectation of arriving at a mutually agreed conclusion, and try to settle the case within this process.
Mediation is an opportunity to get the defense to come to the table with authority to settle this case. The main question will be how much are they willing to settle for? What are their maximum numbers and what are you willing to accept. If these numbers are not in alignment, then each side has the ability to stand up and walk away. When no settlement is reached with the mediation process then the case will proceed to trial.
During the trial, there might other attempts at negotiating a settlement but it will not be in the presence of an impartial mediator. It will mainly be a number quoted by the defense, which you will either accept or reject. After these negotiation attempts also fail, if they do, the trial will continue and the ultimate decision will be made by the jury.
Mediation is an important phase of a personal injury case since there is a chance of reaching a settlement without undergoing issues and the cost of a trial. However, to mediate a case does not necessarily ensure a settlement.