Mediation is a process in which a mediator helps both parties who would be involved in a lawsuit to reach some sort of compromised agreement regarding their incident. This is not arbitration or litigation, but rather a process that keeps the case out of court. The mediator is a neutral third party who tries to ensure each side of an issue reaches some sort of fair arrangement that is mutually agreeable.
The Oklahoma, OK personal injury attorneys of Tawwater Law Firm, PLLC have helped countless clients resolve their cases through mediation. Since the process may not be familiar to many people, we want to cover some of the basics of lawsuit mediation below.
Mediation is another way to reach a resolution that is quicker and less costly than going to court. Judges will often suggest mediation to help reach a settlement before trial. Even when judges do not suggest mediation, many parties will often agree to mediation regardless a means of avoiding a lengthy trial.
Remember that there is no right or wrong in the eyes of the mediator. The role of the mediator is to avoid going to trial. All matters discussed during mediation are kept informal and confidential.
This depends on the nature of the case. In an injury lawsuit in which you are seeking damages against a negligent party, you and your lawyer will be present; the defendant’s lawyer and a representative for the defendant’s insurance company may be present as well, though the defendant may not actually be there.
If there are other family members or loved ones who you feel should be present during mediation, they can be present as well.
The plaintiff and defendant parties will be kept in separate rooms during the mediation process. The mediator will go back and forth between rooms discussing matters with each party to try to reach an agreement. Mediators receive letters from each attorney going over the details of the case so they are aware of the situation.
All things said to a mediator will remain confidential, meaning the other side is no privy to the information disclosed in your separate room. The mediator may note some weaknesses in your case, which should not be construed as discouragement but rather a statement of the risks involved in taking a case to trial.
Eventually, the mediator will convey the settlement offer from the defendant’s representatives to the plaintiff. This offer may be lower than you and your attorney are willing to accept. This is normal, and is part of negotiating a fair settlement that both parties can live with.
Most times mediation only takes a day or two before a settlement is reached. However, there are times when mediation stretches on for weeks. It really depends on the type of incident that occurred, the complexities of the case, and sometimes even the nature of the relationship between the plaintiff and defendant.
Given all of this, you can understand why it is so important to have skilled attorneys on your side. They can help you understand what matters are to your advantage, when to take a settlement, and when to continue negotiating until a fair deal is presented.
For more information about your legal rights and options, we encourage you to contact our team of attorneys. Our legal team can help you through the litigation process, whether your case ends in a settlement or winds up going to trial. You can reach our law office by phone at (405) 673-8021.