Many people find themselves in a legal battle they never asked for, and they wonder, “Is there some way to resolve this case without going to trial?” The answer is that, YES, there are ways to settle disputes without going to court.
In some situations, the plaintiff’s attorney (representing the person who was injured) will discuss, negotiate, and agree to a fair settlement with the defense attorney (representing the person or facility believed to be responsible for the injury). Of course, there are occasions when the two sides cannot agree. There could be a difference of opinion on the facts of what happened. Sometimes they do not agree on the damage that occurred to the injured person. Other times, they cannot agree on the fair cost of that damage
If the two sides cannot come to a shared agreement but they would like to avoid going to court, they can hire a mediator.
What Is a Mediator?
In many legal disputes, there is the option of hiring a mediator to avoid the difficult process of a trial. The mediator is a professional that has specialized training and/or experience in helping people to resolve disputes. The mediator is often a retired judge or a lawyer with expertise in resolving disputes. A mediator doesn’t make a binding decision like a judge or a jury. Instead, they help both sides work toward an agreement on a fair decision without a trial.
How Does Mediation Work?
In a typical mediation, the two sides (the plaintiff and the defense) give the mediator the information and any documents he or she needs to understand the facts of the case. When the actual mediation takes place, both sides will arrive at a location (usually the plaintiff’s attorney’s office), along with the mediator. Each side is usually given their own conference room. The mediator goes into each room and listens to both sides, beginning with the plaintiff.
The plaintiff’s side will define what they consider to be a fair outcome, which is called the demand. Then the mediator will go the defense’s room, communicate the plaintiff’s demand, and ask what they consider to be fair. The mediator will go back and forth to each room to tell each side the opposing argument and what the other side wants. The mediator will also help each side understand the strengths and weaknesses of their respective arguments. The goal of the mediator is to help the two sides negotiate and come to a resolution.
There can be benefits to choosing mediation over going to trial. They include the following:
- Minimizing the risk of a bad decision. A jury trial is a gamble.When you go to a courtroom trial, you’re leaving the decision to a jury of six complete strangers. No matter the strength of your case or how good your legal team might be, your future depends on the wisdom of that jury. A mediator, with formal legal training, is likely to help the parties come to a more predictable decision, and often that decision involves a compromise. It’s commonly said that when there is a good mediation, both sides walk away feeling the other side got a slightly better deal.
- Avoiding the various expenses of going to trial.Of course, for a Brown & Barron client, there is no out-of-pocket expense, unless we obtain a recovery (money) for the client. When we are successful, the cost of the case, including the additional expenses of a trial, is deducted from the eventual recovery amount decided in the verdict. If you can reach a fair settlement with a mediation, a client doesn’t have to incur the additional various expenses of a trial; therefore, more of the recovery amount would go to the client.
- Alleviating the stress of a trial.There is no doubt that going to court and the intense experiences of a trial are stressful for the plaintiffs and their families. It is no picnic being cross-examined on the witness stand. A mediation is also confidential, so there is a level of privacy with a mediation you do not have in a trial setting.
Going to Trial
All cases are unique, and there are situations in which going to trial is the best option. When you are injured, you need a law firm, like Brown & Barron, that can not only negotiate the optimal settlement at mediation, but one that is also ready to fight in court if necessary to get justice for the injured party.
Our attorneys at Brown & Barron, LLC, focus on representing the victims of nursing home abuse and neglect, birth injuries, and medical malpractice in Maryland & Washington, D.C. We know first-hand how these facilities function and just how vulnerable patients and residents are to injuries.
If you believe you or a family member has suffered from medical malpractice, a birth injury, or nursing home negligence, we invite you to contact our team as soon as possible to learn more about your rights and options. Call today for a consultation or answers to your questions about what to expect during a lawsuit.