The American legal system has emphasized other ways of settling personal injury cases than in court. It has worked. Approximately 95% of all personal injury cases are settled out of court. Many of these are settled by mediation. Mediation is a form of Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR.)
The fundamentals of mediation in personal injury cases
Both you and the defense will argue both sides of the merits of your personal injury case with a neutral third party when you mediate. This person will be trained to deal with mediation disputes and cases.
Note that neither you nor the defense is obligated to mediate the case. Also, both sides must agree to a settlement for an agreement to be reached. The mediator never interferes or takes sides during the process. Both you and the defense will pay for the mediator and the mediation process 50/50. Note that the mediation process is completely informal. You are free to say what you want and whatever you will say will not have an impact on either the case or your final settlement.
Most mediation sessions have a basic structure:
● Each party will get to speak with the mediator and the other party present
● Each party will get to speak with the other party directly. The meditator will act more as an interpreter.
● Each party will get to speak to the mediator alone.
The mediator takes all information that the two parties have given him or her and keeps it confidential. It’s the mediator’s job to use that information to persuade each party to arrive at a mutual agreement.
You can find mediators at neighborhood or community mediation dispute resolution centers. Volunteers who have no background or experience in mediation work here. Their fees are often free or very low cost. They tend to handle small disputes.
You can find mediators through professional mediation services. These agencies tend to charge more but they are staffed with experienced professionals who are trained in mediation. They tend to be retired judges or lawyers who have extensive experience in handling personal injury cases.
Independent mediators are also helpful. These are employed judges and lawyers. They have lots of experience in mediation, but they charge up to $300 an hour for their services.
Mediation is a great way to arrive at a reasonable solution if an impasse ever occurs. You can make the negotiations process informal. You don’t need any documents to start mediation. Also, it’s beneficial to have a third party hear out your case.
You may not be able to find free services and hiring a professional may be more expensive than hiring a good personal injury lawyer in Calgary, would have been.