After a motor vehicle accident and filing your suit, you have a multitude of options when it comes to settling that lawsuit. Taking a suit to trial will cost money – and most experienced personal injury attorneys will advise settlement negotiations, arbitration or mediation. Accident mediation has become increasingly popular in the state of New York, especially as the courts try to motivate plaintiffs and defendants to engage in alternative dispute resolution rather than fill the court dockets.
What is Accident Mediation?
Accident mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution. It allows litigants an alternative way to work out issues, settlements, etc. instead of using the courtroom. During the mediation, litigators will sit down with a neutral mediator. This individual facilitates the discussions between the plaintiff and defendant. Both sides will present their case and demands to the mediator.
It is important to note that the mediator is there to facilitate – not decide. They will explain to each party their view, the pros and cons of settlement, etc. The mediator cannot pressure either side to agree or settle.
If the parties come to a settlement, they do not have to take their case to trial. If neither side can agree, however, the parties will walk away from mediation and take their case to litigation in front of a judge.
When mediation results in a quick settlement, it is more cost-effective than taking a case to court.
Do You Need Legal Representation for Mediation?
Plaintiffs and defendants are not required to have an attorney present for mediation, however, it is in your best interest to consult an attorney and have one present during the mediation talks. An attorney can:
- Evaluate the strength and weaknesses of your claim. While impartial, the mediator can still advise as to how strong your claim may be. This includes costs, damages and pain and suffering. An attorney will have their own settlement idea for negotiations, but the mediator can advise as to what weaknesses they see lowering that settlement.
- Advising of consequences. The mediator cannot advise you or give you advice as to which route to take. They can discuss the consequences, but it is best to discuss the consequences of a settlement with a legal professional who is working with your best interests at the forefront of the case. An attorney may feel that the settlement is too low, and force further negotiations before accepting any offers.
- Developing a mediation strategy. The mediator is a neutral third party that facilitates conversation, but that does not mean each side will not have a legal strategy. An attorney will develop and implement a strategy for mediation and will help navigate you through the process.
Speak with a NYC Car Accident Attorney Regarding Your Case
If you have been injured or you are thinking of filing a suit against a negligent party, speak with an attorney first. While mediation can be cost effective, the process is not for all cases. The attorneys at Schwartzapfel Lawyers, P.C. can advise you of your rights and recommend the best strategy based on your case’s evidence. Call 1-888-575-6410 or contact us online today to schedule a free consultation.