Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution. Opposing parties meet with a mediator to discuss the facts of the case and attempt to settle outside of court. The goal is to resolve the matter to end the case and avoid going to trial.
A mediator is a neutral third party who facilitates conversations between the parties and informs each of the strengths and weaknesses of their cases. Mediators can’t decide on the case or issue rulings. Their job is to offer solutions on settling in a way that benefits both parties.
Mediations might last a couple of hours or all day. Some require multiple sessions for opposing parties to iron out the terms of an agreement. The time it takes to complete mediation will depend on the circumstances of your case, such as:
- The number of people involved in the accident
- Each side’s willingness to compromise on the terms of an agreement
- Proposed settlement amounts and terms
- The size and complexity of the claim
What Happens After Mediation?
The case ends when mediation is successful. You can breathe a sigh of relief knowing trial preparations are over, and the money you receive can compensate you for your medical bills and other expenses. However, you don’t walk out of mediation with a check.
If you settle your case during mediation, multiple things must happen before you receive a settlement check, including:
- Pay the mediator – Mediators charge the parties in a case for their time. You must pay the mediation fee. Typically, the parties split the cost.
- File a settlement agreement – The mediator will draft a contract for you and the defendant to sign. Your lawyer can file it with the court to inform the judge of the agreement. Once the judge signs off on it, the lawsuit is officially over.
- Pay legal fees and costs – Personal injury attorneys often take cases on contingency. If your lawyer works on a contingency fee basis, they will subtract the fees and costs you owe from your settlement before sending you a check.
What Happens After Mediation Fails?
You can discuss the next steps with your lawyer if mediation is unsuccessful. You have multiple options to choose from depending on the direction you want to take your case, including:
- Continue negotiating a settlement – The opportunity for settlement talks ends once the judge or jury decides on the lawsuit. However, you can continue negotiating until that point. The defendant might change their mind about your demands and settle because they don’t want to take their chances at trial. Your lawyer might determine your case isn’t strong enough to win and advise you to compromise on a lower settlement.
- Proceed to trial – If mediation fails, you can prepare for the upcoming trial. Your lawyer can gather more evidence and create a strategy to argue your case in court.
- Another mediation – Sometimes, multiple mediation sessions are necessary to settle a lawsuit. Opposing parties often want to resolve the matter to avoid litigating the case further. However, negotiating the terms can take time. You can attend more than one meeting to revisit disputed issues and wrap things up.
How Long After Mediation Can You Go to Court?
You’re not limited to a specific timeframe after mediation before you can go to trial. The judge sets a trial date so both sides can prepare. Your attorney or the defense lawyer might propose a timeline to keep the process moving forward efficiently.
Your only option after an unsuccessful mediation is to prepare your case for the upcoming trial. The duration of the trial depends on multiple factors. Each lawyer will present evidence, call witnesses to the stand, and discuss the facts of the case. The judge or jury will decide the outcome by ruling in your favor or the defendant’s favor.
Injured in an Accident? Call Veron Bice, LLC Now
No two personal injury cases are alike. The circumstances might be the same as someone else’s accident, but the outcome of your case can differ significantly from theirs. The same is true regarding mediation. Settling depends on the unique aspects of the matter and how both parties approach negotiations.
Veron Bice, LLC provides aggressive representation to injured clients in Louisiana. We will protect your rights and seek the justice you deserve. You will be our top priority while we work on your case. Our legal team is ready to fight for you.
If you were injured in an accident due to someone else’s negligence, call the Lake Charles personal injury attorneys of Veron Bice, LLC at 337-310-1600 for a free consultation. We’re available 24/7 to speak with you about your case. Let us help you pursue maximum compensation for your injury.