By choosing this mode of alternative dispute resolution, the parties try to prevent a potential court trial and aim to reach an agreement by agreeing on a compensation of fair value. Usually, the mediation session is conducted through the following steps:
Usually, all the parties make their opening statements that they prepare in advance in the presence of the mediator in the same room. The plaintiff’s side will make an opening statement regarding the merits and value of their claim and may also describe the supporting evidence they have. Then, the defense side and insurance adjuster will also make their opening statement on why the injured should accept the settlement offered by them.
After the statements are made, both the sides usually sit in separate rooms. The mediator moves back and forth exchanging information between the parties and facilitating the mediation session. The mediator may explore the strong and weak points of their respective cases, understand their interests and position, and help them consider the likely best and worst possible outcomes if the matter does not settle.
If the negotiation is successful and parties reach an agreement to resolve the case, is usually advisiable to enter into a written agreement recording what each party agreed to settle for will be signed. After this, if there is pending litigation, the personal injury lawyer often will prepare and file the required paperwork with the court to dismiss the lawsuit.
As part of any settlement, the plaintiff will usually sign a release document stating that he or she releases the other side from liability.