After mediation settlement, you are almost at the end of your case – but not quite. There are a few more steps to come. Below is a quick review of the steps that come before you reach mediation.
Most personal injury cases reach their conclusion before a lawsuit ever gets filed, through a series of negotiations with the at-fault party’s insurance provider. This process usually takes anywhere from four weeks to two months. On some occasions, however, negotiations don’t succeed. This can happen if the insurance adjuster unfairly undervalues or rejects your claim. In such cases, you and your personal injury attorney may decide that filing a lawsuit will strengthen your chances of securing the compensation you deserve.
Even though you file a lawsuit, the negotiations aren’t necessarily finished. Before the trial begins, you will often have an opportunity to reach a settlement through mediation. Understanding what mediation involves and what to expect afterward can help you plan for the process.
What Is Mediation?
Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution that provides an opportunity for facilitated informal discussions between two parties. A neutral legal professional, such as a third-party attorney or a retired judge, will lead the mediation session. The session’s goal is to encourage creative approaches toward finding common ground between the plaintiff and the defendant so they can avoid the expense and time required in going to court.
Do I Have to Attend Mediation?
Some jurisdictions stipulate that the parties attend a mandatory mediation session before the lawsuit moves to trial. Otherwise, attending mediation is your choice. Many people choose mediation because it holds several advantages over courtroom trials. These include:
- The possibility of discussions in a low-pressure environment – Because mediation is an informal process, both sides often feel that there is more room to maneuver and think creatively about how to find common ground. A courtroom, on the other hand, is an inherently adversarial space with many procedural rules to which you must adhere.
- Lower cost – Mediators charge a fee for their services, which both sides usually agree to split. However, the cost of mediation is far less than the expense of going to trial.
- Less time-consuming – Mediation often allows parties to achieve a resolution by the end of the day. As a result, you can receive your settlement money much more quickly. Trials can take months or even years to conclude.
- Mediator’s suggestions are non-binding – When a mediator offers potential solutions during the session, both sides have the option to accept or reject the recommendations.
What Happens at the End of a Successful Mediation?
When you start your day of mediation, you might have difficulty imagining how you will ever be able to agree with the other side. However, many people are surprised at mediation’s capacity to help opposing parties achieve common ground within a matter of hours. Even if you cannot reach a solution by the end of the day, you can schedule an additional session to work through any remaining issues.
Once you have agreed to a settlement, you will no longer have to go to trial. You will draft and sign a contract with the other side. Once signed, the agreement becomes legally binding. If either side breaches the contract, they may be taken to court.
The contract will stipulate how much money you are due to receive. When you sign the contract, you must also agree to drop any further claims against the defendant for the incident in question. After both sides have complied with the contract, the attorneys can inform the court that the mediation was successful.
How Long After Mediation Settlement Will I Get My Money?
The agreement you sign with the other party at the end of mediation will specify how long they have to send the settlement money. On average, it takes about two to three weeks from the end of your session for your attorney to receive the check.
Contact an Experienced Augusta Personal Injury Attorney
Dealing with a personal injury claim can feel complicated and overwhelming. However, you should not be on the hook for the losses you have suffered because of another party’s negligence. Having an excellent personal injury lawyer on your side can help you feel confident that your claim will have a favorable outcome.
The experienced Augusta personal injury lawyers of Chris Hudson Law Group have developed a reputation for excellence throughout the state of Georgia. Our seasoned legal team will help you navigate the complexities of your personal injury case from start to finish.