What is Mediation?
Hey everyone. It’s Drew from Champlain Valley Law. In today’s video, we’re going to talk about mediating your personal injury case.
What is mediation?
So what is mediation? Mediation is a tool used by the courts and sometimes people who want to avoid going to court to resolve legal claims without a trial. Mediation is a specific example of a process known as alternative dispute resolutions; in other words, an alternative to a trial.
Mediation in Vermont car accident claims
In Vermont, every personal injury lawsuit involving a car accident will require mediation as part of the court process. In New York, State courts encourage mediation of car accident cases, but it’s not usually required. Generally, the courts often leave it up to the lawyers to select someone, usually a professional mediator, to work with and figure out what the process will look like.
What does mediation look like?
Now, mediation can mean many different things, from a single in-person meeting to a series of video or phone conferences over the course of weeks or months, and sometimes both.
Many people think that they have to settle their case at mediation, but that’s not true. A case is only settled if both parties agree to the terms. You see, a settlement is a contract and, at its most basic, a contract that involves your agreement either not to sue or to drop your lawsuit, and the defense agrees to pay you a certain amount of money.
Now it can get a little bit more complicated than that, particularly when you start to talk about dealing with the timing of payment or how to deal with expenses related to the litigation.
Is mediation a good or bad thing?
So you may be wondering, is mediation a good thing or a bad thing for injured people?
The answer is, of course, it depends. It depends on you, your preferences, and the kind of case you have. In some circumstances, we try to mediate cases before filing a lawsuit that we believe may be difficult to win at all or to see if we can get some indication of the defense’s perspective on the case.
Mostly, though, insurance companies and their lawyers don’t want to settle cases too quickly. They usually want to do some investigation to try to limit their losses. They’ll wait until close to trial and try to use mediation as a tool to wear down injured people and get them to settle their cases for less than they’re worth.
Are mediators biased?
Now, mediators themselves have their own agenda, too; they like to see cases settle. So they push both sides as hard as possible, even if it means one side shifts their position more so than the other side. And mediators are proud of their track record of making settlements happen, even if it’s not a great outcome for the injured person.
When does mediation happen in a car accident case?
In most car accident cases, mediation occurs somewhere between a year and a year and a half after the case is filed. It’s usually one of the very last things to happen before the court considers the case trial-ready.
By this point, many injured people are wary of the process, and they’re ready to be done. Now you should be aware that insurance companies and defense lawyers know this about mediation, and they try to use it to their advantage. We’ll talk more about preparing for mediation and how to get through it in future videos. So stay tuned.
So your takeaways from today’s video are these. Mediation is a process that happens outside the courtroom, and while a court may order you to participate, you don’t have to settle your case in mediation.
It can be helpful in the right case but don’t get your hopes up. Most of the time, the insurance company isn’t looking to give you a fair offer, and you should be prepared for that. In some circumstances, like before filing a lawsuit at all, mediation can be very effective. However, in some circumstances, like before filing a lawsuit, mediation can be very effective.
I hope you found this video helpful; if you did, please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to our channel. And if there’s anything you’d like to hear more about, let us know in the comments section below. Thanks for watching. And we’ll see you next time.