If you are an Alabama resident who has been injured as a result of someone’s negligence, you might be wondering whether you might have to take them to court in order to recover the compensation you deserve.
While litigation might be unavoidable under certain circumstances, it is not the norm in personal injury cases by any means. In most cases, alternative dispute mechanisms like mediation can be a better alternative to litigation and can help you obtain the compensation you deserve without going through a stressful legal battle.
How Does Mediation Work in a Personal Injury Claim?
It is a process wherein the two sides involved in the personal injury claim sit down with a neutral third party (the mediator) and try to resolve the claim without going to court.
Unlike litigation, mediation does not take place in a courtroom. It takes place in an informal setting where the two parties can try to reach an agreement with the assistance of the mediator.
Personal injury mediation usually follows one of the following three structures.
- Your side and the defendant’s side can talk to each other directly in the presence of the mediator.
- Each side can talk to the mediator in the presence of the other side.
- Each side can talk to the mediator privately.
The session usually starts with the mediator introducing the parties involved in the claim. Right at the start of the session, your side and the defendant’s side have to sign a confidentiality agreement and agree to not use any information shared at the mediation in the courtroom – should your case go to trial.
Once the session starts, your side can make your opening statement, in which you can succinctly explain why you deserve the compensation you are asking for. The defendant’s side will also make a statement and explain why they believe you do not deserve the compensation you demand.
During the course of the session, your side and the defendant’s side can make offers and counteroffers until you reach an agreement. In some cases, you might be able to reach an agreement in a couple of sessions. In some other cases, it might take multiple sessions.
It should be noted the mediator does not have the authority to make any decision on either side’s behalf and they cannot force either side to make a decision. They can only convey messages from one side to another, channel the session in the right direction, and offer suggestions that can help both parties come to an agreement.
Once an agreement is reached, both sides have to sign a written contract that clearly spells out the terms of the settlement agreement. Both sides are required to abide by the terms of the agreement signed. The defendant’s side is required to pay the compensation they agreed to pay, and the plaintiff’s side is required to sign a release stating that they no longer have any claim against the defendant.
In case you are unable to come to an agreement even after multiple sessions of mediation, you can choose to take your case to trial.
What Are the Benefits of Mediation in a Personal Injury Case?
There are several reasons why mediation might be a better choice than litigation when it comes to resolving a personal injury claim.
Depending on how complicated the claim is and the amount of compensation being demanded, your case could drag on for several months or even years. With mediation, you might be able to settle it in a few sessions, which can be scheduled at your (and the other side’s) convenience. As a result, you can save a lot of time and money.
The mediator – being an objective third-party – can educate both sides about the strengths and weaknesses of their case and make them understand that they stand to save a lot of time and money by settling the case out of court.
You have complete control over the outcome of mediation. Neither the defendant’s side nor the mediator can force you to agree to an offer that you think is unfair. Moreover, the informal nature of mediation allows you – as well as the other side – to come up with creative settlement solutions that are uniquely suited to your needs.
Injured by a Third Party? Our Alabama Personal Injury Attorneys Can Help You Get What You Deserve!
If you have been injured by someone and need to file a tort claim, you need a seasoned Alabama personal injury attorney on your side. Attorney Frank M. Wilson is a successful personal injury litigator in Alabama who has a reputation for handling complicated cases that many personal injury attorneys would be hesitant to take up.
Known for his exhaustive knowledge of business and personal injury laws, attorney Frank M. Wilson has been awarded Martindale-Hubbell’s AV Preeminent Rating, which is the highest standard that an attorney can hope to achieve in the industry.
To discuss your case with a dedicated Montgomery personal injury attorney from our firm, call us today at 334-420-2931 or contact us online and schedule a free consultation.