Mediation in Personal Injury Claims
In the legal space, the term “mediation” is most often thought of in terms of an alternative method for resolving divorces. However, mediation can also occur during Morris County personal injury cases such as car accidents, truck accidents, slip and falls, construction accidents, injuries on public property, and any other kind of accident injury claim resulting from the reckless or negligent actions of another party.
But what is personal injury mediation, how does it work, and when might it take place during a personal injury claim? Let’s take a look.
What Is Personal Injury Mediation?
Roxbury, NJ Injury Attorneys
Much like in divorce, personal injury mediation is a more informal type of negotiation and dispute resolution process that can be extremely beneficial to helping resolve personal injury cases. During personal injury mediation, a neutral third party known as the “mediator” will listen to both sides of the case, and attempt to help the parties find a middle ground solution without resorting to expensive courtroom litigation or jury decisions. In other words, a mediator will not make any kind of final ruling or judgement on your personal injury case, rather they will try to help both parties find a solution which works for both sides.
It is estimated that almost 97% of all personal injury cases are decided through the injured party, and the insurance company of the negligent party, reaching an agreement outside of the courts, known as a “settlement”. Finalizing a personal injury claim through a settlement has advantages to both parties involved in the dispute, as the injured party will be able to secure compensation in a much more timely manner, and the negligent party and their insurance company will be able to avoid a public decision, and thus a public record, of the negligence that took place, and also avoid the potential of a much larger jury-awarded outcome.
While you by no means have to settle your injury claim, and should actually always be prepared to go to trial, achieving a fair settlement offer for your injury claim can be beneficial to you, and many times reaching this kind of settlement can involve the personal injury mediation process.
When Will My Personal Injury Claim Require Mediation?
Parsippany, NJ Accident and Injury Lawyers
Personal injury mediation can take place when both parties are interested in reaching an acceptable agreement, and are willing to discuss their needs and concerns in an open, honest, and communicative manner. If the insurance company is being particularly difficult to negotiate with in your case, or if you are adamant in securing the maximum possible recovery, than mediation may not work for you in your Parsippany accident and injury claim.
Additionally, while personal injury mediation can occur when both parties are interested in pursuing this form of alternative dispute resolution, it may also be the case that a judge orders mandatory mediation before sending the case to trial if they believe that the dispute has the potential to be resolved through the mediation process.
How Does the Personal Injury Mediation Process Work?
Randolph, NJ Personal Injury Attorneys
During the personal injury mediation process, the dispute mediator will request that both sides first present a “mediation statement”, basically a document outlining the case and the facts as each party sees them. The mediator will review these statements, and then schedule a mediation session between the parties.
At the mediation parties, both parties will verbally reiterate their positions and concerns moving forward, and then either separately or jointly discuss their specific issues with the other side’s position and offer with the personal injury mediator. The mediator will then seek to help the parties reach an acceptable, middle-ground solution, and if successful, draw up an informal legal document outlining the details of the settlement reached. This document will be signed by both parties and their attorneys, and ultimately submitted to the court as formal settlement agreement.
While these discussions and negotiations may be more informal than they would be during a court proceeding, it is still extremely important that you are careful with what you say, and how to say it. This is one of the many areas in which your Randolph personal injury attorney can be of great assistance, as they can help you prepare for the mediation discussions, and answer many of the questions directed towards you as your legal representative.
Of course, just because you are mediating your personal injury claim does not mean you have to ultimately settle your claim. If you cannot reach an agreement that properly takes into account the compensation that you need and deserve, or if you at any point feel uncomfortable with the direction of or how the mediation process is proceeding, speak with your attorney. They can help you to either refocus the mediation process, or to simply tell the other side that their offer is not acceptable, and that you will see them in court.
Morris County Personal Injury Attorney Recovers Compensation through Mediation, Settlement Negotiation, and Trial Verdict
Whether your personal injury claim is ultimately settled through mediation, pre-trial negotiations, or a jury verdict, the most important aspect of any of these resolutions is that you receive full and fair compensation for your medical expenses, lost income, and emotional and physical pain and suffering.
At The Law Office of Smith and Doran, we have extensive experience helping clients across Parsippany, Roxbury, Randolph, Morristown, Morris County, and throughout New Jersey to recover the compensation they need and deserve in personal injury claims of all kinds.
Founding Partner Robert A. Smith personally handles all injury cases for our firm, and has been certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Certified Civil Trial Attorney. This elite distinction is held by only 2% of the active lawyers in the state, and signifies Robert Smith’s excellence in the areas of legal knowledge, trial skills, and ability to communicate with clients. Combined with his belief that every client needs to be provided with attentive and informative legal service, and kept involved at every stage of the personal injury claim process, Robert Smith’s legal recognition and personal beliefs combine to provide the effective, knowledgeable, and compassionate legal representation that you need and deserve in any personal injury matter.
To speak with our firm and Robert Smith today in a free and confidential consultation regarding your accident, injuries, and potential options for recovering compensation, please contact us online, or through our Morristown, NJ office at (973) 261-6254.