Although most personal injury cases settle before going to trial, sometimes it may take longer to come to a resolution when the insurance company devalues or denies a claim altogether. Insurers will make quick, lowball offers knowing that injury victims may be in need of compensation to help cover medical bills and other out-of-pocket costs. An experienced lawyer could help with back-and-forth negotiations.
However, when negotiations between both parties fail, mediation could be the last step to reach a fair settlement before having to go to trial where a judge or jury would decide the case. It could potentially be a win-win solution, especially with a legal representative on your side every step of the way.
Greg Monforton & Partners further discuss mediation, what to expect during this process, and the advantages that come with it. Better understand your rights and legal options in a free consultation.
What is Mediation?
Mediation is an informal settlement meeting where both parties come together in an attempt to see if the case can be resolved outside of court. In Ontario, this is a mandatory step to take prior to the court providing a trial date.
Mediation generally takes place in an office before an independent, neutral third-party known as the mediator. The mediator is someone both parties and their lawyers have agreed to.
Although the mediator cannot make any legal decisions, he or she helps both parties explore their issues and clear up any misunderstandings in an attempt to resolve the dispute.
What to Expect During Mediation
Those present during mediation would be the mediator, the plaintiff, the plaintiff’s lawyer and the defendant’s lawyer. Insurance adjusters may also be present during this meeting. The defendant being charged is typically not present. The insurance company representative acts in his or her place.
Mediation starts with introductions and a brief explanation of the role of the mediator and the purpose of the meeting. Each lawyer will outline their client’s case. Both parties have the chance to share their version of events.
The mediator will then meet with both parties separately to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of their case. You and your lawyer would also meet up to discuss settlement options. Each party will make offers and counter offers back and forth.
The entire process could take several hours to a whole day depending on the complexity of the case and the issue being disputed. The goal of mediation is to find a middle ground that both parties can agree on. However, should the case not settle at mediation, the next step is pre-trial.
Certain Advantages of Mediation
An important advantage of mediation is both parties being able to resolve a dispute faster in a less formal setting without an expensive and lengthy trial. Mediation allows for better engagement between the parties, increasing the control both parties have over reaching a resolution. In a courtroom, both parties may obtain a resolution, but the control resides with the judge or jury.
Aside from more flexibility and control, court hearings are public, while mediation remains generally confidential. No records, transcripts or other evidence introduced during mediation can be revealed or used at a later date.
Another advantage is that mediation can help preserve the relationship between the parties. Since there is no winner or loser, no admission of fault or blame, the settlement is a mutually agreed-upon decision. This often leaves both parties with a better outcome and greater satisfaction due to mediation.
Resolve Your Injury Claim With a Reputable Lawyer
Many injury victims may not realize that seeking legal help from a reputable lawyer with trial experience may improve their chances of recovering compensation. Those who hire lawyers often recover more compensation than those who do not.
Our Windsor personal injury lawyers are ready to negotiate for a fair settlement with the insurance company or go to trial, if it is required. Contact our firm today to schedule a free legal consultation to discuss the details of your claim. We charge nothing up front unless we help you obtain compensation.
Greg Monforton & Partners. No Risks. No Obligations. Ph: (866) 320-4770.