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Personal Injury Cases and Mediation - What to Expect

By Sean Burke on October 30, 2018

The scales of justiceBefore going to trial, many people involved in lawsuits try mediation. This process involves a mediator going between the plaintiff and defendant to help reach an agreement and settlement that both sides can find agreeable. Many people are unfamiliar with the mediation process, but it’s something that The Law Offices of Sean M. Burke has found helpful for a number of clients.

The Orange County, CA personal injury and accident attorneys at our law firm would like to go over the basics off mediation and what clients can expect. This should give you an idea as to why this process is so crucial for so many cases.

Why Mediation May Be Preferable to Trial

If your case goes to trial, there are many uncertainties involved. The final outcome of the lawsuit may not be in your favor, perhaps requiring appeals and additional legal work. Mediation helps both parties arrive at a deal that is mutually beneficial and agreeable. The majority of lawsuits are settled out of court, and often through mediation.

Who Is Present During Mediation?

During mediation, the plaintiff side and the defendant side are kept in separate rooms. You will be present with your lawyer. Any family members or loved ones important to the case may be in attendance as well. In a different room, the defendant’s lawyer and representative from their insurance company are usually present; the defendant may or may not be present during mediation.

What Happens During Mediation?

During the actual process, the mediator will walk back and forth between each room, meeting the plaintiff’s side and defendant’s side separately. All things said in each room are confidential and will not be shared with the opposing party.

The meditator will be familiar with the circumstances of your case ahead of time. During this back and forth, the mediator may note potential risks or weaknesses in your case, which are worth considering as you weight the option of accepting a deal or going forward with a trial.

How Should I Prepare for Mediation?

To prepare for mediation, sure to dress well and remain composed. It’s important to discuss any concerns with your lawyer ahead of time. Your lawyer will typically walk you through the basics of the process and what you should be doing as it unfolds. In most mediations, your lawyer will do a lot of the talking, though you may also engage with the mediator.

Settlements During Mediation

At a certain point during the mediation process, the mediator will provide the plaintiff with a proposed settlement from the defendant’s representatives. The settlement amount is typically determined by the defendant’s insurance representative based on comparable incidents. From this point, the settlement amount and the details of the agreement further negotiated. Be sure to carefully consider your options with your lawyer.

How Long Does Mediation Take?

Most time mediation lasts only a day or two. That is much shorter than the months required for a personal injury trial. Then again, it’s possible for mediation to stretch on for days or even weeks in especially complicated or fraught cases. Your lawyer will be able to provide information on long mediations as part of the preparation process.

Contact Burke Law

For more information about your legal rights and options and how our attorneys can help you, be sure to contact our personal injury law firm. We are here to help you in your time of legal need. You can reach the Law Offices of Sean M. Burke by phone at (949) 438-4416.

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