Receiving a settlement from the at-fault driver’s insurance company can often be challenging. Insurance companies may sometimes minimize the situation and offer a lower payment than expected. When facing challenges in negotiating with the insurance company, mediation can serve as a cost-effective alternative before resorting to trial.
What to expect from mediation
Car crash victims and insurance companies can waste a lot of time negotiating back and forth. When both parties want to settle the dispute outside of court but can’t agree on the specifics and exact amounts, mediation can help them mutually agree on a resolution.
Both sides have to agree on the mediator, who is an impartial third party with nothing to gain from either party. Most mediators are lawyers or retired judges with significant expertise in the practice area. The mediator will not make any decisions but only help each side communicate their needs and understand one another.
The car accident victim and the negligent driver, along with their insurance company, will be present. Parties can also opt for legal representation.
Each side will have the opportunity to present their case and any evidence to the mediator in the presence of the other. After which, they will separate and get a chance to talk to the mediator alone. Once the mediator has all the information they need, they’ll highlight any weaknesses or potential issues to help the parties reach a compromise.
Both parties must sign a written settlement contract if they are in agreement. Otherwise, the case may continue to court. Bear in mind that anything said or presented during mediation may not be used as evidence in a trial.
Preparing for mediation
Both sides need to be flexible in order for mediation to work. The victim may not get all they asked for, but they may still obtain a reasonable settlement amount. Those who suffer injuries, pay for medical expenses or had to miss work may benefit from discussing these and other losses during mediation.