Many auto accident cases settle outside the courtroom. You can negotiate with the defense, go through arbitration, or choose mediation to settle your case. Mediation is a particularly ingenious way to settle a case because you negotiate your case under the guidance of an experienced party.

Below are three things you should know before mediating your auto accident case.

1. The Parties

The mediation involves all the parties interested in the case outcome. Below are three groups to expect at the mediation table.

The Plaintiff Team

As the injury victim, you can be physically present at the mediation table, let an auto accident lawyer represent you, or attend the mediation alongside your lawyer. Your presence is necessary since you have a grievance that needs resolution. Even if you are absent during the mediation, you must sign off on all major concessions your lawyer makes.

Consider using a lawyer for your mediation. Injury lawyers are experienced negotiators and understand the process. Choose an experienced lawyer who has handled multiple auto accident cases successfully.

The Defense Team

Rarely does the defendant physically appear at the mediation table. Rather, the defendant’s insurance company will handle the negotiations through an insurance adjuster or lawyer. This arrangement makes sense because the insurance company will pay your settlement unless the liable party is uninsured.

The Mediator

The mediator is a neutral third party whose role is to facilitate the process and ensure its fair to everyone. Unlike a judge, the mediator won’t rule on your case; rather, the mediator just nudges both parties toward a settlement.

A good mediator shouldn’t have a conflict of interest in the case. For example, the mediator should have no relations with the defendant or plaintiff. The mediator should also have a good understanding of personal injury laws and the mediation process.

Both parties have a say on who they choose as a mediator. Most mediators are former players in the legal industry. For example, former judges make good mediators.

2. The Preparation

Prepare for the mediation because it determines whether you get the compensation you deserve or must go to court. Here are tips to help you with the preparation:

    • Get all the documents you can use as evidence in your claim, including the police report, medical records, and photographs of the accident.
    • Determine how much you want for the compensation by identifying and calculating your damages.
    • Be prepared to compromise; you don’t have to get everything you want, but you should get a reasonable compensation package.

Your lawyer will prepare you for the process. Listen to your lawyer—they have experience in many cases before your own. Don’t take advice from non-professionals, such as your friends or colleagues.

3. The Process

The mediator will explain their role and ground rules before the process begins. The explanation is necessary to ensure everything plays by the same rules. Each party will make introductory statements that set their expectation for the case.

The mediator will hold a joint session with everyone to see whether you can reach a quick settlement. The mediator will hold separate meetings with each side if a quick settlement is not forthcoming. The mediator may hold alternate joint and separate meetings to encourage you to settle. The session ends if you agree or once it becomes clear you cannot agree.

Hopefully, you will get the results you want for your auto accident case. Contact Frenkel & Frenkel and let us help you get the compensation you deserve. We can also litigate your case in the unfortunate event that it fails to settle. We have over 25 years of experience in personal injury law, including auto accident cases.

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