1. What is mediation?
A. Mediation is when a neutral third party helps individuals come to agreements that are mutually satisfactory. Many types of cases, ranging from personal injury to medical malpractice and negligence, and even domestic issues like custody arrangements, can be successfully mediated without the parties ever having to appear before a judge.
2. What are the advantages and disadvantages of mediation?
A. Mediation has many advantages, as well as a few potential disadvantages. Mediation can be a more cost-effective way of resolving legal issues if all parties involved are willing to participate. While a judge can sometimes order a case to be mediated prior to trial, more often than not it is a voluntary means to resolve issues.
3. Is mediation right for my case?
A. Our attorneys have years of experience working with mediators throughout Arkansas and can help you evaluate whether mediation is a good fit for your case.
4. How does mediation relate to my wrongful death or injury case?
A. Mediation is a way for those involved in an accident or incident to resolve their right to full compensation informally, outside of the courtroom. Often, insurance companies will not voluntarily pay the full value of a personal injury or wrongful death claim without a lawsuit against their insured. However, the parties may elect to resolve the case under the guidance of a professional mediator.
In most personal injury cases, the mediation session provides the added benefit of confidentiality. Because the discussions are confidential, parties often feel more comfortable communicating openly about the case—and communication is key to resolving legal issues.
Mediation can provide an important opportunity for the victims to demonstrate how the incident or accident has affected them personally. Finally, mediation is usually beneficial even if the case does not settle because it can provide insights into how the insurance company and the attorneys it pays might try to discount the value of a claim at trial.
5. Do I need a lawyer for mediation?
A. Our personal injury attorneys are thoroughly experienced in resolving cases through mediation. It is true that parties may be able to resolve their case at mediation without benefit of legal counsel. However, in every litigated case the insurance companies will be represented by legal counsel, so why shouldn’t you?
Additionally, even though the formal rules may not apply as they would in court, injured people often benefit from having an attorney present to effectively challenge assumptions and characterizations of the evidence, while also advising you about the value judgments made by the insurance companies and their paid adjusters and lawyers.
Collins, Collins & Ray attorneys know that the lawyers and paid adjusters from the insurance company are nearly always seeking ways to devalue and undermine a personal injury case. This is as true within mediation as in every other aspect of a personal injury claim. If you are considering mediating your claim, give our Texarkana or Little Rock office a call and let us tell you about the benefits of mediation with legal counsel by your side.
6. How long does mediation take?
A. Mediation can take a few hours, or it can last several days. It all depends on the details of your case and how willing each party is to discuss issues and listen to the other side.
7. How do I find a good mediation lawyer?
A. Whether you are going to court or going through mediation, you need an experienced lawyer who will communicate with you and who will make sure your voice is heard throughout the case. The attorneys at Collins, Collins & Ray take great pride in helping our clients achieve the best outcomes possible for their unique cases.