Houston Texas Lawyer Blog

How Can Mediation Help My Personal Injury Case?

April 14, 2021 Personal Injury

Being involved in a personal injury accident can be a life-changing and overwhelming experience. You were injured and are now confused about the next steps you should be taking to help yourself. You don’t have to face this alone!

There are many benefits to hiring a personal injury attorney to represent you in your case. An attorney will be familiar with the procedures involved in litigating, mediating, or settling your claim. Further, having an attorney who will fight for you against the other side will improve your odds of obtaining a fair settlement.

If you’ve been seriously injured in an accident, immediately call the Terry Bryant Law Firm at 713-973-8888 or toll-free 1 (800) 444-5000 for a free and confidential consultation. Our Texas personal injury attorneys are ready to help you!

Obtaining skilled legal representation makes a difference.

If you’ve retained an attorney to represent you on your personal injury matter, your attorney will work towards getting you fair compensation for your injuries. However, working with a lawyer and firm prepared to go to trial can be very impactful on negotiations.

Our firm’s approach is to prepare every case as if it were to go to trial, even if it is eventually settled. This signals to the other party’s insurance company that we are serious about obtaining fair compensation for our clients.

To learn more about our firm’s approach and the steps we take in our clients’ personal injury cases, please visit the Terry Bryant Law Firm website.

The insurance company is refusing to settle my claim. Now what?

Once you’re no longer receiving medical treatment, your attorney will generally prepare a demand package as a formal request to start settlement negotiations. The demand letter will set out key facts about how the accident caused your injuries and include an outline of your damages and losses stemming from the accident.

The other party’s insurance company may respond to the demand letter with a settlement offer or completely ignore it. Typically, the insurance company will come back with a low-ball settlement offer because they are in the business of paying out as little as possible.

If the other party’s insurance company is refusing to settle your claim for fair value or are refusing to settle your claim at all, then your attorney, at that point, may proceed with filing a lawsuit against the responsible party or parties.

After your attorney files your lawsuit, the defense counsel representing the other party’s insurance company will want to take your deposition to obtain information from you about the case. A deposition is an out-of-court procedure, where a party or witness will give their sworn testimony about information and facts surrounding the case. Your attorney will also typically take the deposition of the responsible party or parties to gather additional information for your case.

After depositions have been taken, your personal injury case will likely proceed to what is known as “mediation.”

What is mediation?

According to the American Bar Association, mediation is a “private process where a neutral third person called a mediator helps the parties discuss and try to resolve the dispute.” In other words, mediation represents a conference the parties and their legal representatives attend to discuss your case to get it resolved.

Who will attend the mediation?

  • You and your attorney;
  • The insurance adjuster of the other’s party’s insurance company, and their defense attorney; and
  • The Mediator.

What is a Mediator?

A mediator is a neutral third-party facilitator whose task is to help the parties reach a mutually acceptable resolution. Many mediators are former and retired judges; others are experienced attorneys, often with special training or credentials. Some mediators are attorneys that fully dedicate themselves to serving as mediator.

The mediator cannot make decisions for the parties. The mediator cannot assign fault for the accident, decide how much money the other party’s insurance company should have to pay for your compensation, or require you to accept a settlement offer from the other side.

The mediator is merely working alongside all of the parties and helping them move towards a negotiated settlement.

How is my mediator chosen?

Your attorney and the defense attorney will agree on the mediator. Picking a mediator is an important task because it could affect how successful the mediation turns out. Both attorneys will want to choose a mediator that will help negotiations. If the mediator is biased, will not listen, or is not equally fair to both sides, the mediation will not produce successful results. If the mediator is someone that the insurance adjuster cannot trust, this will also hinder settlement negotiations.

What takes place in the mediation?

In advance of the mediation, the mediator will review the facts of your case. Both parties will prepare in advance of the mediation as well. You may not have as much direct participation in the mediation as you would in a deposition. Still, your attorney will explain to you beforehand what you should expect during the mediation process.

During the mediation session, the mediator will offer both parties suggestions on how they might come to terms.

Pre-COVID, you and your attorney would travel to a mediation center or office location where the mediation would be held. The mediator would introduce every attending party and would typically allow the attorneys to make their opening remarks. Then, the parties would relocate to private rooms – you and your attorney would go into one room, and the defense attorney and insurance adjuster would go into a separate room. The mediator would go back and forth between the parties relaying offers, counteroffers, and any other comments made by each side.

During the COVID pandemic, things have changed. Mediations have moved onto a virtual environment. Mediations are currently held remotely through Zoom or other videoconference platforms. Although the parties are no longer appearing together at a dedicated facility or office location, the process has remained the same. Each party and their representative are placed in different private virtual rooms. The mediator goes back and forth from one virtual room to the next.

My case did not settle at mediation. Now what?

If your case settles at mediation, that’s excellent news! If you leave the mediation without getting your case settled, it’s not the end of your case. Your case may still settle at a later point, possibly in response to a mediator’s proposal, which is a specific amount proposed by the mediator that must be accepted by both sides within a specific timeframe. Sometimes, it may be helpful to have a second or third mediation. Mediations are a useful tool for resolving disputes. If you cannot reach a negotiated settlement with the other party’s insurance company before trial, your case will still proceed to trial.

Let the attorneys at the Terry Bryant Law Firm help you!

Don’t let the other party’s insurance company pay out less money than what you deserve. By obtaining an attorney to advocate for you in this process, the insurance company will take your case seriously.

Our attorneys at the Terry Bryant Law Firm are ready to help! If you’ve been recently injured in an accident and have sustained severe injuries, contact our legal team at the Terry Bryant Law Firm immediately at 713-973-8888 or toll-free 1 (800) 444-5000. Don’t wait! We will fight to obtain the compensation you deserve.

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