Just because a lawsuit is filed doesn’t mean it’s on the fast track to trial. In fact, most cases are settled before they reach court. Mediation is one way to avoid the courtroom, and it’s collaborative, direct, and often cheaper than a full-blown trial.
The ProcessBoth parties meet with a mediator—an impartial third party with years of experience. Usually, everyone meets in the same room for 15 to 20 minutes, and each party has the opportunity to talk about whatever is important from his or her point of view. After this session, the parties are separated and the mediator goes back and forth with offers, messages, documents, and anything else that will move the negotiation forward. The process can take as little as an hour, or may conclude after a few days. In short, negotiation continues until an agreement is reached or someone decides there is no middle ground to be found.
The Benefits of MediationHere are some key reasons why a successful mediation can be the right choice in a court case:
- Avoid the courtroom—Reaching an agreement through mediation usually will resolve your entire case. In that situation, there is no need for a trial or the work that goes along with preparing for court.
- Protect your resources—When seeking a settlement through mediation, you sometimes can avoid paying for depositions and experts. Plus, if you owe money related to the case (such as hospital bills from a car crash), the mediator can try to negotiate on your behalf for any amounts owed to insurance companies or other groups.
- Problem-solve in creative ways—Mediation can work in many different ways, and it provides an opportunity for everyone to propose creative solutions. The options are endless when it comes to an agreeable solution.