Did you know that most personal injury cases never go to court? The reasons are numerous and include the high costs of litigation and the time involved in filling out the paperwork – it can take a year from the filing date for a case to go to trial. So how are most cases solved? Well, through mediation. However, you will still need to hire a personal injury lawyer to get the settlement you want and need since California’s personal injury laws and mediation process are both complex.
Your personal injury lawyer in Citrus Heights will tell you that the mediation process occurs when all parties involved and their legal teams sit down and argue their stories and sides in the case while in the presence of a neutral third party (the mediator.) The mediator listens to all sides before offering his or her opinion.
Steps in the mediation process
If you choose the mediation process, both you and your personal injury lawyer will sit down with the concerned parties and go through the following steps:
Step 1: the decision process
The plaintiff and both lawyers will sit down to agree upon a settlement amount to give you. You should never accept it because it is a very low amount and may not be nearly enough to help you cover all bills and expenses that result from the accident. Also remember, that you will be paying your personal injury lawyer out of the settlement amount.
Step 2: the process
It is during this stage that you, the plaintiff, and the legal teams of both sides will meet. Your meeting will be overseen by a mediator who will begin the session with an opening statement and an explanation of the mediation process. The lawyers will argue their sides of the case. Then,all parties will go to a room and remain there until a settlement is reached.
If no mutual agreement can be reached, then you have to sign a settlement agreement. This basically states that you are no longer legally eligible to sue the defendant for any future issues resulting from the personal injury accident either during or after the mediation process. The defendant will generally pay you within a month of the initial mediation meeting. You as the plaintiff can sue the defendant in court if neither one of you can reach a mutual agreement.
You, your personal injury lawyer, the defendant and his or her lawyer will be present at the mediation sessions. A neutral mediator will also be present. Keep in mind that although everything you and the defendant and your legal teams say during the mediation process is confidential, the defendant can obtain evidence based on your statements and use it against you in a later court trial. Though no party will get 100% of what they want in terms of the settlement, many people like the mediation process because it gives them complete control of the case.
Mediation can work for you.You can make the mediation process work for you if you hire a good legal team and are mindful of the information discussed in this article!