What is a mediation?
If you suffered a personal injury in an accident and are involved in a personal injury law suit in Ottawa or in some other Ontario jurisdictions, one of the required steps is to work at resolving the dispute with your insurance company at the mediation level . The idea is that all facts will be on the table for both sides and a personal injury lawyer can represent you and negotiate with your insurance company on your behalf , avoiding the cost, time and stress of going to court. Each party has the opportunity to express their concerns, tell their stories and attempt to negotiate an agreement. Accident victims should ensure that they completely understand the process and know what to expect before they attend the mediation. Chances of a successful mediation, of resolving the dispute or at least some of the issues between the parties, are enhanced by taking the time to prepare. David meets personally with all his clients before such meetings to sit down, review and discuss what is expected of them at mediation.
What can I expect in a mediation ?
Mediation is simply a step in the legal process designed for people to settle disputes or lawsuits outside of court. A mediator is hired to be unbiased and help both sides come up with a fair solution they are both happy with. The mediator is not a judge or an arbitrator. Mediators are not judges and do not decide who wins and who gets what. The mediator’s role is to help the people involved to reach a fair settlement with each other in a positive manner and move the lawsuit forward, to understand all sides, and to find a resolution that both sides feel good about. The mediator’s role is to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to express themselves, their concerns, and their interests. The purpose of this stage in the process is not to determine who wins and who loses a case, but to come up with a solution and possibly avoid a trial. The process is informal, relaxed and absolutely confidential. The insurance company and the accident victim speak more openly than they would in court. Most accident victims find mediation a more comfortable and constructive process than they would in court.
Typically, a mediation involving a personal injury lawsuit most often begin with the mediator explaining the reasons and procedures for the personal injury mediation. Then the personal injury lawyer and the insurance defence lawyer make opening statements explaining the facts of the case. Both sides involved in a law suit must attend the mediation. However, they are not always required to speak. A personal injury lawyer will often speak on their clients behalf. The mediator may the accident victim if there is anything they want to add. However, it is common for the clients not to speak in the mediation.
How long does a mediation last?
After the opening statements, the parties usually retire to separate rooms where they exchange settlement offers back and forth under the guidance of the mediator. This is often when most personal injury cases develop and a lot of progress is made in resolving the personal injury lawsuit. In some instances the lawyers will have a direct conversation without clients. The mediator may or may not participate. Almost always the person who attends the mediation with the defence lawyer is not the driver but an insurance company representative who decides on behalf of the insurance company how much money in compensation they will pay out to the accident victim.
Unfortunately not all personal injury lawsuits settle at the mediation level, but a lot do. In the instances where they do not settle, the lawyers can continue to discuss settlement and will move forward towards a trial date.