Personal injury lawsuits, such as those related to a car crash claim, are long and time-consuming legal processes. They also cost you, the state, and other parties involved a significant amount of money. This is why the legal system has devised various means of resolving personal injury claims before a lawsuit can go to trial. A Charlotte car accident lawyer can help you explore these means.
One common tool used in avoiding trial in personal injury lawsuits is mediation. Mediation is very effective in many car crash claims as it can help you come to some kind of an agreement with the insurance company of the at-fault driver. Here is a look at how mediation works in Charlotte car crash claims.
What is Mediation?
Mediation is a voluntary activity that takes place when both sides in a car crash claim request it. The purpose of this activity is to sit down in an informal environment and strive to reach an agreement. Given its informal and voluntary nature, mediation is not a legally binding process. And any proceedings that occur during mediation can’t later be cited or used in a court of law.
The Role of the Mediator
Mediation typically occurs in the presence of a mediator. This mediator is a neutral, third-party who is present only in the capacity of a moderator. The job of the mediator is to facilitate communication between both sides and strive to bring them together on common ground. In doing so, the mediator can’t make decisions, force a decision on either party, or otherwise give opinions.
Most mediators are lawyers who specialize in personal injury law. This gives them the legal expertise and experience required to understand the case and make sure they are able to steer a mediation session effectively.
Both parties must pool in the legal fees of a mediator, which are usually charged by the hour. The fees can vary significantly from one mediator to another, and you should expect the more experienced mediators to charge more for their time.
The Mediation Process
The way a mediation session proceeds is quite simple. The purpose of the session is to let both parties fully present their point of view. Both parties may first present their point of view to the mediator. As a car crash victim, for instance, you may share with the mediator how the crash occurred, why the other party was at fault, and why you think you are entitled to the amount of damages you are seeking. The defendant, which is usually the insurance company, will do likewise and explain why your demand is too high or not valid.
Once this preliminary communication is over, the mediator then facilitates direct communication between both sides. So at this stage, you directly speak to one or more representatives of the insurance company. This interaction is frank and informal as anything said during it can’t be cited in a court of law.
If one-on-one communication between both sides does not lead to an agreement, the mediator may then split both sides into separate rooms. In the next step, the mediator interacts with both parties separately while acting as the go-between. The aim is to seek concessions from both sides and bring them to an agreement in order to avoid an expensive and time-consuming trial.
If mediation results in an agreement, the mediator pens down the agreement and makes it formal by having both parties sign it. It is important for representatives from both sides with suitable legal powers to sign this document. Otherwise, one of the parties can later dispute the agreement.
If mediation does not yield an agreement, both sides can go back to their pre-mediation positions. In such a case, the claim likely proceeds to a trial and a final decision can take quite some time.
Why Hire a Charlotte Car Accident Lawyer?
When you are seeking damages in a Charlotte car crash claim, it is important to know all the legal options available to you. When you are aware of options like mediation, this gives you an opportunity to seek a quick and fair settlement.
Here at Ted Greve & Associates, our lawyers help you understand your options and work with you to ensure that you get the maximum amount of damages in the briefest time. We also negotiate with the insurance companies on your behalf and accompany you through activities like mediation. Reach out to us today to discuss your claim in a free consultation with experienced lawyers.