Mediation in Personal Injury Cases

Mediation in Personal Injury Cases >

Mediation in Personal Injury CasesAs a personal injury case moves through the litigation process, your attorney or the courts may suggest mediation at some point. In New Jersey, mediation is not a required part of litigation in personal injury cases. But it can be helpful, especially when both parties agree to all the facts and are only deadlocked about the value of the settlement.

What Is Mediation?

Mediation is an informal process in which both parties meet with a neutral mediator and discuss their settlement issues. The mediator will make suggestions as to how the parties can reach a resolution of their differences. Then, they will work through them with the parties.

The goal of mediation is for both sides to participate in the process. Rather than having a judge decide unilaterally, one side must win, and one must lose. The mediator helps both parties find common points of agreement. They help both sides make concessions to the other so that both sides feel comfortable with the deal.

The advantage of mediation is that it is less expensive than taking a case all the way to trial. It lets the parties negotiate on equal ground. The mediator is not there to decide who is right or wrong but only to facilitate an equitable settlement.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Mediation?

Mediation has many advantages in personal injury cases, provided both parties agree to the procedure.

  • It can resolve the issue in one or two mediation sessions. If the only issue to be resolved is the settlement amount, it can end the case quickly without waiting months or years for court dates.
  • It is less expensive. Because the mediator’s fee is split between the parties, there is no additional cost to one party or the other, and it is cheaper than the cost of continued litigation.
  • It humanizes the parties. If you feel like the insurance adjuster does not understand your problems because they have never met you, you may be able to explain your difficulties directly to them.
  • It gives the parties control over the outcome. Rather than letting a judge or jury rule on who is right or wrong and make a decision, the parties can offer their own opinions about what they believe should be done in the case and what they feel is the correct solution.

Mediation is not always the best solution for personal injury cases.

  • If the parties disagree about mediation, the mediator will typically not agree to the process. Both parties must want to participate in the mediation to succeed.
  • Mediation cannot be used if there are genuine issues of fact that must be decided. For instance, if there are questions about who caused the accident, the mediation cannot resolve this matter.
  • The mediation may be futile if the parties are too far apart on the settlement.
  • Finally, if one party negotiates in bad faith, the mediation will fail.

Your attorney will discuss these pros and cons more fully before mediation. If both of you believe mediation is the proper solution for your case, you should proceed with the negotiation.

Is Mediation Legally Binding?

Mediation in Personal Injury CasesMediation can be made legally binding after both parties reach an agreement. The mediator will write the agreement and have both parties and their attorneys sign it. The mediator will notarize it or have it notarized. Although the agreement is a legally binding contract, it is not the end of the lawsuit.

One of the attorneys will write a Stipulation for Judgment incorporating the mediation agreement and send it to the judge assigned to the case, requesting that the judge make this the final judgment. Once that has been done and the judge signs the document, the mediation agreement will be the judgment on the case and binding on all parties.

How We Can Help

Anyone can enter into mediation with any other party for any reason. If you are involved in a lawsuit and the opposing counsel has suggested mediation, you may want to consult your own attorney before making any decisions.

If you have a personal injury case, you need legal assistance. Contact the New Jersey personal injury lawyers of Brach Eichler Injury Lawyers at (973) 364-8300, and we will provide a confidential consultation regarding your case. If we determine that you need mediation at any point in the process, we will recommend it and be at your side throughout negotiations. Contact our legal team today.

Written by: Brach Eichler Injury Lawyers Last Updated : August 24, 2023
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