Going to war is a last resort, and if disputes can come to a resolution in a more peaceful manner, most people would choose this instead of the battle. The same is true for lawsuits. Finding a more civil way to resolve conflicts so that both sides can avoid a courtroom confrontation not only saves money and time but often results in less stress and a more positive outcome.
This is why more people are choosing mediation as a way to resolve their legal disagreements. Mediation, unlike litigation, allows both sides to discuss their differences, find common ground and, ideally, reach a settlement that both parties find agreeable. If you are facing a lawsuit related to someone else’s injuries, you probably have a lot on the line. Mediation may be appropriate for minimizing the damages you face and resolving the matter with dignity.
Understanding the process of mediation
Perhaps the most important element of a successful mediation is that both sides must commit to making it work. Through mediation, you and the other party present your sides of the conflict, and a mediator guides you in attaining common ground and coming to a satisfactory resolution. There is no judge and no jury, and the mediator does not make the decisions for you. Instead, you and the other party work through the issues. Here are the general steps that you can expect during the process:
- You and the other party agree on a certified mediator to hear your case.
- You meet with the mediator, who will facilitate introductions and set the ground rules for the process.
- The other party will present his or her statement, outlining the events, and the mediator may ask questions.
- You will have your chance to present your side of the story.
- The mediator may ask to meet with each party individually to propose various solutions.
- Throughout the discussions, the mediator may carry proposals between you and the other party, focusing on the points upon which you both agree.
- With the mediator’s help, you and the other party reach a final agreement.
While this might sound simple, it can actually be quite emotional, especially if the other party is seeking compensation following an injury or the loss of a loved one. However, the process is confidential and does not become a matter of public record like a court case would. Nevertheless, despite the informal setting, your rights are still on the line, and you have every reason to consider having legal counsel with you throughout the process.