When two parties struggle to agree, it’s helpful to involve a third party with vast experience in resolving such disputes. Mediation is a practical approach to this, helping many accident victims settle their crash compensation disputes with insurance companies.
The mediator, a neutral third party, controls the process and works as a diplomat. They’ll go back and forth between either party and try to direct them towards a satisfactory resolution. This process is effective if both sides understand the need to avoid trial and act in good faith.
This is a critical process with numerous considerations, so make sure you seek guidance from an experienced Mississippi accident mediation attorney from Morris Bart’s law firm.
What Is Car Accident Mediation?
In essence, car accident mediation is an alternative dispute resolution approach that involves a neutral third party who helps broker a settlement agreement between opposing parties in a car accident claim. Either party can suggest it after unsuccessful talks. However, each side’s desire to agree will determine the case outcome.
Rarely does the insurer accept the first proposal, and your attorney will make several back-and-forth exchanges between either party until both sides reach an agreement. But if you cannot agree with the insurer, your attorney may suggest mediation.
Who Pays for Mediation
Mediation is usually between the driver who filed the claim and the other motorist, their representative, or an insurance company attorney. Each side will equally pay for the process.
You can initiate the process through a demand letter proposing a settlement amount that you deem acceptable and able to satisfy all your damages if the insurance company agrees to it and pays.
Most parties to a car accident claim opt for mediation because it’s faster. You can resolve your claim in a matter of hours. The process is also cheaper and less stressful than going to trial. A claimant and adjuster can sit together in a less informal session to directly control the outcome. Finally, this process offers lots of privacy.
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An Overview of How the Car Accident Mediation Process Works in Mississippi
Mediation isn’t a courtroom proceeding. Instead, the parties meet at a neutral location, preferably the mediator’s office. Mediators are usually retired attorneys or judges who understand the process and all that comes with it.
They identify the problems, explore the available resolution bases, discuss the consequences of your agreement, and guide each party to accommodate the other party’s interests. As such, you must choose the right mediator. While in the same room, both sides will create briefs highlighting the arguments and settlement demands, then exchange copies and submit one to the mediator so everyone understands the case equally.
In the beginning, the mediator will notify both parties of their rights and preliminary matters. They’ll also assure you that all the statements you make in the mediation room remain confidential and can’t be used against either party in court. You’ll then present opening arguments, and your mediator may ask the case’s initial questions.
How a Settlement Offer Emerges
After the opening arguments, the mediator will hold private conclaves in separate rooms. Often, they go back and forth, requesting each side to state their best settlement offer. You have to explain why you think your suggested amount is reasonable and fair.
If both offers are somewhat close, the intermediary will suggest that both parties meet halfway to agree. But if the values are far apart, they’ll request both parties to:
- Reconsider their decisions and create new proposals, or
- Terminate the mediation and take their case to trial
The negotiations can seem complex, especially if you don’t have the negotiating skills or don’t know the specific element to include in your damages. That’s why it’s always a great idea to involve a Mississippi car accident attorney in your case. These experts know the vital elements that determine the compensation amount, and you can be sure of a substantial settlement.
The Average Duration of a Car Accident Mediation
How long your mediation will take will depend on various factors, and the process itself has no time limit. The typical mediation takes a day or two, but it’s also possible to resolve after several weeks.
Generally, make sure you heed the three-year deadline as highlighted in Mississippi’s statute of limitations or risk losing the claim.
What to Say – and Not Say – at Mediation
What you’ll disclose or say during mediation will remain private, and the other party or insurance company can’t use your words against you during trial or litigation. So don’t fear to open up and deliberate every matter freely.
Most personal injury claims involve the injured accident victim and the person they’re trying to hold accountable for their mistakes. Everyone errs, and mediation will help either party put this behind them, emotionally and financially.
The plaintiff may be angry because the other party’s negligence caused their losses. Also, the at-fault driver may feel unfairly accused and think that the plaintiff is using the situation to make some money. As such, emotions might run high.
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Possible Outcomes of a Car Accident Mediation
After resolving a successful mediation, the mediator will draft your mediation agreement and general release, then request that both parties sign the agreement. The agreement mentions how long the defendant will wait for the settlement and is deemed an enforceable contract, which many court jurisdictions can uphold.
But if car accident mediation turns unsuccessful, none of the parties involved loses any rights and can pursue arbitration or file a court lawsuit to continue the litigation. Whatever the outcome, your mediation attorney will help you take the best direction to achieve the best result.
Let an Experienced Accident Mediation Attorney Help Your Case
Most parties to a car accident claim prefer mediation as a cheaper, faster, and more effective dispute resolution approach and alternative to lawsuits. If successful, and all parties agree to mediate, the process can significantly reduce your job and the time taken to receive compensation.
Fortunately, the experienced attorneys at Morris Bart’s law firm will guide you aptly through the mediation process. Just call us at any time of the day to get help.
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