What Happens At Mediation?
In almost every case, whether in personal injury or in a homeowner’s insurance case, you can expect to be sent by the court to mediation. But what is mediation and what happens in mediation?
What is Mediation?
Mediation is a process where both sides (and their attorneys) will sit down with a mediator, and try to settle their case. Mediation often takes place at an office, not the courthouse, although it may take place in a courthouse in some areas, and depending on the type of case that it is.
The mediator is not a judge, and has no power to make any decisions; the mediator solely tries to get the parties to come to an agreement between themselves. However, the mediator may be an attorney, or retired or former judge, and may provide some legal insight to both sides.
If the parties reach an agreement at mediation, the case is over and settled, under the terms agreed to at the mediation. If the parties do not settle, the case proceeds as it normally would, to trial (although the parties are still free to settle their case after mediation but before trial).
Everything said in mediation is completely private, regardless of whether the case settles at mediation or not.
What Happens at Your Mediation?
At your mediation, you will not be asked many questions at all. Because everything is confidential, nothing that you say is being recorded. Your attorney will give a short presentation of your case, and why you feel the Defendant did something wrong, and owes you money or whatever other remedy you are seeking. The other side will have the same opportunity, and you can expect the Defendant to point out weaknesses in your case.
Because mediation isn’t trial, and nothing is recorded, the parties generally say what they anticipate they will present as evidence in trial later on. There are no rules of evidence and no restrictions on what a party can or cannot say at mediation.
After both parties give their statements, they will often separate into separate rooms and areas. The mediator will go back and forth, relaying each party’s offer to the other party. The mediator may exert some pressure, and tell both sides why their position is weak, in an effort to “soften up” both sides to settle the case.
The hope is that the mediator makes the Defendant pay more, and makes you accept less, so that you can eventually come to some agreement in the middle and get the case settled.
The mediator may ask you questions during this “back and forth,” but the mediator is not on anybody’s side, and anything you say to the mediator, can’t be revealed to the other side unless you want it to be. Of course, your attorney will be there also, to help you or advise you during the process.
If you resolve the case at mediation, the mediator may draw up a settlement agreement for the parties to sign, or the parties may just agree on general terms, and then agree to sign a more complete settlement agreement later on.
Contact the Miami personal injury attorneys at Velasquez & Associates P.A. today for help understanding every stage of your personal injury or homeowner’s insurance dispute case.