top of page
  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger

What Is Mediation of Personal Injury Claims, and How Does It Work?

Personal injury cases that go to trial can be expensive, time-consuming, and very stressful to both parties involved in the lawsuit. That is why, whenever possible, a good personal injury lawyer will seek an alternative dispute resolution that does not involve going to trial.


As such, when seeking fair compensation for injuries sustained due to someone else's negligence, victims might never have to set foot in a Texas court.


With effective personal injury mediation, work done by the personal injury attorneys of both parties can compensate injured victims and find a mutually satisfactory solution to the personal injury case.

At Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys in Houston, Texas, the best injury lawyers in Houston believe there is more than one way to handle a personal injury lawsuit.


If personal injury mediation is what is best for the victim, these experienced trial lawyers will do all they can to make sure their client walks away with maximum compensation.


What Is Mediation of a Personal Injury Case?

What Is Mediation of a Personal Injury Case?


In personal injury mediation cases, both parties sit down and talk, with a neutral third party acting as a mediator. The mediator's job is to help the victim and the defendant find a mutually satisfactory way to handle the dispute.


Both parties will be represented by their legal counsel during the mediation session, meaning the victim will have a personal injury attorney, while the other party will have its defense attorney present. Mediation of personal injury claims is a voluntary process, which means both sides have to agree to sit down and talk before going to court.


When handled professionally, mediation offers a simpler, informal, and often much quicker means of dispute resolution than the alternative, which is usually a long and complicated court trial.


It is important to understand that during personal injury mediation, it is not the mediator's job to make the final decision. Their job is to simply be the neutral platform on which both sides can talk and, hopefully, reach an agreeable settlement.


Pros and Cons of Personal Injury Mediation


Mediation of personal injury cases is a popular way to achieve dispute resolution and is probably something a good personal injury lawyer would suggest to their client. They can also advise on how to be a good client during your personal injury case. However, when deciding whether to try personal injury mediation or go to court, victims must be aware of the pros and cons of mediation.


Pros

  • A settlement agreement can be reached much faster

  • Victims who have reached an impasse with an insurance adjuster can use mediation to resolve the issue

  • It allows face-to-face negotiations with the other party, the insurance adjuster, or the defense lawyer

  • No further documentation is required, other than that which was used in the claims process

  • In some cases, mediation can be less expensive than, for example, hiring a personal injury attorney and going to court


Cons

  • Mediation may not work well for complicated injury cases, such as those involving multiple parties

  • Some professional mediators can be very expensive

  • It may be difficult to get the insurance adjuster or the defendant's lawyer to agree to come to the mediation session, especially when it only means more work for them

How Does the Mediation Process Work?


The mediator's role is to get the two parties talking without bringing any negative feelings to the table. In many cases, simply getting everyone in one room is a massive step towards helping both parties agree to a settlement.


Although the process may vary from one case to another, most mediators follow a basic structure, which involves:


  • Each party speaking to the mediator with the other party present

  • Both parties talk directly to each other, with the mediator facilitating good understanding between the two

  • Each party speaks to the mediator alone in a separate room


The following is a detailed look at the mediation process:


Signing of the Confidentiality Agreement


Before any discussions can take place, the plaintiff, the defendant, their legal teams, and the mediator must all sign a confidentiality agreement. This assures everyone involved that nothing discussed in the mediation will be revealed or later used against them if the matter goes to trial.


Opening Statements


Each party will get a chance to give opening statements in front of the mediator and the other parties. During the opening statement, victims should expect the defense lawyer to address them directly or, in some cases, even try to intimidate them.


The personal injury lawyers will also get a chance to give an opening statement, in which they will outline why their client is entitled to compensation from the other side.


Mediator Consults With the Plaintiff and Defense


After each side has presented their case, the mediator will talk to each party in separate rooms. This allows the mediator a chance to speak openly with each party without any interruption or influence from the opposing side.


During this period, the plaintiff can provide whatever evidence they have to the mediator, such as photos of the accident scene, testimony from expert witnesses, or medical reports. The defense will take the opportunity to argue why the dollar amount being asked for as settlement should be lower.


Both Parties Involved Reach an Agreement


A positive outcome of the mediation process will be that both parties reach an agreement and make it official by either signing a letter of intent or a settlement agreement. The victim will also be asked to sign a release promising not to pursue the matter any further.


The Mediation Process Fails


However, the mediation process can also fail to reach a mutually acceptable dispute resolution. In this case, both parties will either meet again to continue negotiations, or the personal injury mediation will break down completely, meaning the matter will have to go to trial. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can explain how to win your personal injury claim.


How to Prepare for Personal Injury Mediation

How to Prepare for Personal Injury Mediation


When preparing to settle a personal injury claim using mediation, victims need to remember to do the following:


  • Write a detailed account of the accident

  • Mention all the ways the accident affected their lives

  • Avoid getting emotional when giving their statements

  • Give the defense a chance to speak, and keep an open mind

  • Avoid arguing with, or getting mad at the mediators


With a Good Mediator and Experienced Lawyers, Mediation Can Expedite a Personal Injury Claim


When faced with the prospect of a long and expensive court case, any chance to reach a quicker, cheaper, and mutually acceptable dispute resolution is always welcome. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys has handled many personal injury claims using the mediation process, and can help victims in Texas win damages after being injured due to someone else's negligence.

bottom of page