Mediation is one option available to people who file a personal injury lawsuit, whether this is a work injury, a slip and fall accident, or another type of premises liability suit. A premises liability lawyer in Houston can advise you on whether mediation is right for your case, and they can help you through the process if you choose to go down the path of mediation.
What Is Mediation in a Work Injury or Slip and Fall Lawsuit?
Mediation is an alternative to going to trial, and it’s an option for most people involved in personal injury lawsuits. Some courts make mediation or another form of alternative dispute resolution mandatory before cases can go to trial. If you were injured on somebody else’s property, or if you were injured at work and your boss doesn’t have workers’ compensation insurance, then you may need to file a lawsuit where mediation is an option to help settle your case.
Mediation has the plaintiff (you) and the defendant (the person liable for your injuries) sit down with your lawyers and a neutral third party called a mediator. The mediator aims to help you and the other party reach a settlement through discussions.
What Does Mediation Entail?
The first part of mediation is an introductory meeting. The mediator introduces everybody involved, talks everybody through the process, and has both sides agree to sign a confidentiality agreement. This agreement stops both sides from using information brought up during mediation at trial. Each side will then give an opening statement.
Your lawyer may talk about what led to your injury, how the other party is liable for it, and how much you’re claiming in damages. Each side will then discuss the case with the mediator privately, and the mediator may go back and forth with offers and counteroffers. The mediator may also ask both sides questions so they can bring all the issues in the case out into the open. The mediator may offer advice on how to reach a fair settlement, too.
Does Mediation Work?
Approximately 96% of personal injury claims can be settled through mediation. Several factors that contribute to mediation not working to resolve the case include a lack of preparation, having unreasonable expectations, and being inexperienced in negotiations.
The issues that may contribute to mediation not working can often be remedied by making sure you have a skilled lawyer assisting you. Visit this page to get in touch with attorneys who can help, whether you opt for mediation or whether your case needs to go to trial.
What Are the Advantages of Mediation Over Going to Trial?
Settling a case through mediation is typically faster than going to trial. It’s also less costly, which is beneficial if you have to pay case expenses as well as your attorney’s fees. It also tends to be a less stressful experience than going to trial, and it offers you a better sense of control and a whole lot more privacy than a trial does. Everything said during trial ends up becoming a public record, but that’s not the case with mediation.
Finally, during mediation, nobody gets to make the decisions for you. You get to decide whether you agree to settle with the other party.
Do You Legally Have To Follow the Mediator’s Recommendations?
A mediator may make recommendations regarding settling, though you’re not legally obligated to take any suggestion that they offer. However, in many cases, a mediator’s suggestions will be similar to what a judge will decide if your case ends up going to trial. Listen to your attorney and see if they recommend taking a mediator’s suggestions, as your attorney will always advise you to do what’s best for your case.
What Happens When You Can’t Settle Through Mediation?
If you can’t get your case settled through mediation, then you’ll usually proceed with litigation and end up going to trial. Occasionally, the defense may concede after mediation, but before trial, and offer you a settlement that’s fair enough for you to accept. If they offer you a settlement after mediation and before trial, but the settlement isn’t high enough, then you may still proceed with going to trial.
Why Should You Hire a Premises Liability Lawyer in Houston?
You’ll need an attorney by your side while going through mediation or heading into the courtroom. Having a lawyer may increase your chances of mediation working for you, and you’ll need your attorney to help strengthen your case by gathering evidence in your favor. Nobody should attempt to navigate a personal injury claim without legal representation.
Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution that can be done before going to trial. A mediator aims to bring all the issues to light and help both sides negotiate a settlement without going to trial. If mediation doesn’t work, then you can still go to trial to settle your case. However, most cases are settled before they enter the courtroom.