Atlanta Personal Injury Mediators
Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution that parties in a personal injury case can pursue to settle their dispute/claim quickly, cost-effectively, and often with less hassle and stress. For decades now, there has been a slow but steady increase in the number of personal injury claims/cases that are resolved before trial as more and more parties have opted for different types of alternative dispute resolution – especially mediation. The U.S. legal system provides an adversarial civil court system, which can be expensive, time-consuming, and stressful, and people are moving away from it as a primary means of resolving disputes. Depending on the nature of your case and the willingness of the other party, it is usually advisable to try alternative dispute resolution first before filing a lawsuit in court. Even personal injury attorneys and insurance companies often advise their clients to agree to mediation first since they recognize its value in dispute resolutions. Atlanta personal injury mediators can help you resolve your dispute with the other party and reach a voluntary, mutually agreed, and fair settlement to avoid wasting time and resources in litigation as you pursue compensation in court. If you have already entered into personal injury settlement negotiations and reached an impasse, then you may have to go to mediation to try to resolve your dispute and settle your claim.
Understanding Personal Injury Mediation
When parties agree to go to a personal injury mediation, they look for a neutral third party (mediator) who will prepare and facilitate negotiations between the disputing parties and help to find a mutually satisfactory resolution to their dispute.
Mediation is entirely voluntary until a personal injury lawsuit is filed in court and goes to trial. Mediation can only happen if both sides request or agree to it, and the parties voluntarily and mutually agree to a settlement of the dispute.
The mediator neither makes decisions for you nor gives his/her opinions. It is entirely up to the parties themselves to make their own decision on whether they agree to settle their dispute and reach an agreement.
If you reach an impasse after mediation, then you may have to pursue litigation and file a lawsuit against the other party in court. Further, everything said during mediation remains fully confidential and neither party can use it against the other party during the trial.
Typically, both sides will share equally the cost of mediation. Mediation is an informal process that is meant to give every party a chance to share their side of the story without the burden of special legal procedures. Therefore, the parties won’t have to worry about saying something wrong that might make them “lose” in the dispute.
Personal injury mediations follow a basic structure
Personal injury mediations follow a basic structure, although individual Atlanta personal injury mediators may adjust it slightly to suit a specific dispute. Typically:
- both parties meet in one room to speak to each other in the presence of the mediator
- parties speak directly to each other with the mediator facilitating the interchange, and
- every party speaks to the mediator separately.
The mediator will then use the information that parties have shared with him/her – while keeping it confidential – to urge each side to reconsider their position sufficiently so that they can reach an agreement.
The parties can say whatever they feel they want to share and present facts and opinions in their own way without following any format. They will devise their plan for making good use of the mediation and need no special training.
How Much Should I Settle For?
After a slip and fall injury, car accident, or other accident, you want your case to be resolved quickly and fairly, but how do you determine a fair amount to settle for?
If you have filed a claim to seek compensation for a personal injury, ensure you consult an attorney to help you determine the value of your case before you can start to negotiate a settlement.
You will be in a better position to negotiate the amount you’re looking for. Consider what a jury in your jurisdiction might award if you won at trial as well as your chances of winning the case when deciding how much you can settle for.
Your Chances of Winning at Trial
What are your chances of winning the case at trial? Be as realistic and objective as possible when assessing your chances of winning the trial. To do this, consider the evidence for and against you, and the credibility of all witnesses, including yourself, and try to have a good sense of how the juries have been awarding damages over the past few years.
Let us look at some examples. At one end of the spectrum, your chance of winning a car accident case involving rear-end collision at trial is close to 100% no matter the jurisdiction where you file the case. Therefore, you will not have to worry about how the juries have handled such cases before since you’re almost guaranteed to win.
At the other end of the spectrum, you intend to pursue a very difficult medical malpractice case or product liability (defective product) case, or even an auto accident case in which you have very little evidence to present. In those types of cases, you may have as low as 10% chance of winning.
Once you get a good sense of your chances of winning the case at trial, then you can determine the right path for you to recover damages. You will be able to assess whether it is worth filing a lawsuit in court or agreeing to mediation and settle your claim with the help of Atlanta personal injury mediators.
The Damages A Jury Can Award
When you file a personal injury case, the court can award you two types of damages, including:
- damages whose exact value can be calculated (also known as “special damages”), and
- damages that don’t have an exact value (or “general damages”)
The damages of an exact value, or special damages, include medical bills, lost wages, lost earning capacity, and other financial losses. Damages of no exact value, include emotional distress, pain and suffering, and related damages.
You should know exactly the damages you are seeking on your personal injury claim as you go to mediation, and find out what types of damages the juries have been awarding in your jurisdiction.
For instance, juries in a very conservative jurisdiction usually do not make large damage awards, no matter the damages you have suffered, and therefore, you will have to moderate your expectations when seeking compensation.
On the other hand, if you are in a state where juries often award monumental damages for any type of injury and losses when you win your case at trial, then you might consider raising your settlement amount.
Atlanta Personal Injury Mediators
It can be difficult to calculate exactly what a jury might award, but you and the other party can negotiate from a ballpark.
Are you looking for Atlanta personal injury mediators? Contact Bobe & Snell Law Office LLC to find reliable mediators who can help you negotiate a fair settlement for your personal injury claim.
Call us now at (470) 268-5802 or contact us online to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.
Atlanta Personal Injury Mediators