Indiana personal injury lawyer explains the mediation process.
If you have filed a civil lawsuit whether it be medical malpractice, personal injury or a business dispute before you get a trial date, the court will most likely have to mediate your claim. Mediation is also known as alternate dispute resolution.
Mediation is a settlement process whereby the parties get together with a neutral third party (the mediator). The mediator does not have skin in the game. He or she is usually agreed on by the parties or appointed by the court. The mediation will be handled one of two ways. In the first process, all the parties will get together in a room and the lawyers will set out their respective party's position. After this general caucus, the parties will go into separate rooms and the mediator will go back and forth in an attempt to resolve find some middle ground.
The second way a mediation is held is without the opening general caucus. In this type of mediation, the parties are in separate rooms from the beginning and the mediator goes back and forth in an effort to reach a settlement.
There are some things that you need to know about mediation.
- Mediation is like Vegas – what happens at mediation – stays at mediation. These conferences are confidential and if you break confidentiality you could get sanctioned by the court.
- No one is going to force you into a settlement. The decision to settle a case is always the client's decision.
- The mediator is not a judge. He/she can only make suggestions and try to get the parties to negotiate a resolution.
- A number of cases do settle at mediation.
- If you want your case to settle at mediation you have to be willing to negotiate. You do not get top dollar at mediation. If you hope to get top dollar for your claim – it will have to come from a jury.