What is mediation?
Mediation involves a neutral person, the mediator, who guides parties through communication to promote compromise, settlement, or understanding.
Is there a difference between mediation and arbitration?
Yes. Arbitration is a process where each party or their attorney presents their case to a neutral person. Then, the arbitrator makes a decision about the case. A mediator does not provide a decision but helps both parties reach an agreement on their own.
What types of cases are mediated?
Family law cases, civil cases, tenant/landlord cases, and personal injury cases are all types of cases that can be brought to mediation before considering filing a lawsuit.
Most mediations occur in a less formal setting and can save money and time if both parties can come to an agreement. If both parties involved can come to an agreement through the mediation process a legally enforceable outcome can be provided. If an agreement cannot be made on behalf of both parties there will be no effect on future court proceedings because a mediator is required to keep all information confidential.
Cost of Mediation and Where to Find Services
Service fees may be set (reasonably) by the court or both parties could choose and agree on a method of payment with a mediator who sets their own fee. Courts can assign mediators, or you can choose a third-party mediator. Mediators can be found online on mediation websites.
Mediation: What to Expect
If a Judge has issued a mediation order on an accident case you can expect your insurance adjuster and all parties to be present. It is required by the mediator that all parties involved be present during the mediation process so that everyone who has the authority to negotiate the settlement can do so. Your counsel will be a voice on your behalf and speak with the mediator. Your counsel will help advise you as the mediation progresses.
If an agreement cannot be met, the mediator will draft a proposal and present it to each party. If this proposal is signed by both parties, then the case is settled. If the mediator’s proposal is NOT signed by one or more parties then the case will likely continue with court proceedings at a later date.