What is Mediation and How Does It Work?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured as a result of somebody else’s negligence, then you may be in the process of trying to seek a personal injury settlement with the responsible party’s insurance company. Unfortunately, reaching a fair settlement agreement isn’t always easy. When you’re struggling to reach a settlement, one option worth considering is that of going through mediation.

Specifically, mediation refers to a process where two parties in a dispute discuss their wants and concerns; from there, an impartial third party (known as a mediator) works with them to reach a settlement both parties can agree upon.

What Does Mediation Entail?

Mediation begins with an agreement between two parties to see a mediator. Typically, the mediation sessions will be held in a neutral place, such as the mediator’s office. During the mediation sessions, the two parties gather with the mediation professional, along with their attorneys (if applicable).

The meeting will generally begin with an introduction, where the mediator will give some sort of opening statement. From there, formal matters will be covered (such as any applicable mediation fees) before each party presents their side, issues, and desired outcome.

Upon listening to both parties, the mediator will come up with some potential agreements and negotiations that could work for each party. Often times, there is a bit of back-and-forth before a final agreement is reached. This agreement is put into writing and signed by both parties, as well as their attorneys to make it official.

Benefits of Mediation

There are many benefits to seeking mediation, especially in a personal injury settlement. In most cases, mediation is the fastest and most cost-effective way to reach an agreement that works for both parties. It is much more affordable than going through the complicated legal/court process to get a court order, and it is also a lot more convenient. Mediators, unlike the courts, are generally very flexible with their scheduling. This means you can reach a settlement agreement through mediation on an evening or even weekend.

Finally, mediation works to accommodate both parties and reach an agreement that is beneficial to both sides.

Who Can Be a Mediator?

If you’re thinking about working with a mediator, you’ll need to find a professional in your area. Qualifications for a mediator can vary greatly from one jurisdiction to the next, but in most cases, a mediator needs to have a minimum of 20-40 hours of mediation training. Other requirements may include mediation experience and a college degree or higher. In most cases, a law degree is not required to be a mediator, but it can be a good idea to look for one who has such a degree. Mediators must also have some form of ethics training.

Overall, mediation can be a great choice for those who want to reach a settlement out of court. If you or a loved one has been injured by the fault of somebody else, be sure to consult with a personal injury attorney to discuss the possibility of mediation. Contact Becker Lavin & Wessler to schedule your free case consultation today.

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