Simply put, a personal injury mediation serves as a meeting in which the involved parties of a personal injury lawsuit can get together in an informal setting to discuss, and hopefully reach, a settlement. In some provinces, this step is a mandatory part of the personal injury claim process.
Taking place in a conference room, the mediation is only guided by a professional mediation who has been approved by the lawyers of both parties. The mediator is not allowed to make legal decisions, but is rather there to help both parties consider a satisfying settlement. The presence of the mediator, plaintiff plus lawyer, and defendant’s lawyer are required, but the presence of insurance adjusters is circumstantial. The defendant’s personal presence is generally lacking, with an insurance company representative taking their place.
The session proceeds as follows:
Introductions: The mediator will introduce themselves and give a brief explanation of what their role will be in the following few hours, as well as what the goal is of the mediation process itself. Next, both personal injury lawyers will take turns outlining their client’s case. Following this, both the plaintiff and the defendant get a chance to describe their situation during and following the incident.
Private Meetings With The Mediator: First, the mediator will retreat to a private room with the plaintiff and their lawyer to go over the strengths and weaknesses of the case they already presented. Afterwards, the same will be done with the defendant and the defense counsel in the spirit of fairness.
Private Meetings For Each Party: The next is to meet privately with your lawyer to go over your settlement goals and options in light of the discussing you just had with the mediator.
Group Discussion: Back with the group, both sides will take the time to explain what their objectives for settlement are with clear emphasize on what points are negotiable and which ones definitely aren’t. However, to reach an acceptable settlement for all parties, there will need to be some sacrifices made from both sides.
Further Potential Private Meetings: Throughout the discussion, the lawyers from both sides may meet in private to discuss areas of agreement. Other likely combinations of private discussions are the mediator with the plaintiff and defendant, and the mediator with both injury lawyers in Georgetown, in an effort to bring forward potential offers for settlements from both sides.