Often times, rather than going to court a case will go to mediation instead. So first of all, what is mediation? Basically instead of having a trial, the two parties (in this case, probably you and the insurance company’s team) will meet with a neutral third person to try to resolve a claim before a hearing. It gives you and the insurance company a chance to work out your own deal to close a case.
How is this different than court? For one, no one can make you or the other side settle your claim. You only form an agreement if you both actually agree to the final terms. Additionally, you won’t be sworn in or questioned. Of course, you have the right to speak, but it’s not a requirement. But don’t worry, your attorney will give you more details about speaking before the mediation.
Who is the mediator and what do they do? The mediator is the person who comes in as the neutral third party — they’re not on your side, and they’re not on the insurer’s side. They’re just there to help you come to an agreement. They will most likely talk with you about the tough parts of your case. But don’t feel singled out! They’ll also be asking the other party questions as well. They will act as a go-between between you and the other side. This will help get each side’s points and arguments across. If you are able to come to an agreement, the mediator will write it up and everyone will sign it. At this point, your case will be resolved.
Mediation is a common practice in workers’ comp law. In fact, our courts order that each case at least attempt to come to an agreement through mediation before going to trial — which is good for you because mediation generally saves a lot of time and money. Moreover, both parties are able to feel like they contributed to the outcome and generally walk away satisfied. Don’t worry, though, if your mediation is unsuccessful. This just means that your case will move onto court, where a Judge will make a final decision.
What is mediation and how does it work? Talk with your attorney about any questions you have and listen to their advice on expectations for the process.