If you’re pursuing a civil matter, things can get heated and complicated pretty quickly. This is why many individuals decide to opt for mediation instead.
Whether you have a working dispute or a personal injury case, you should know what to expect when going for the mediation route.
What Is Mediation?
Mediation is a process in which a neutral third party (the mediator) works to bring two or more parties who are involved in a dispute together in order to come to a mutually agreeable resolution to the problem.
Typically, the mediator proposes a solution proposal that is acceptable for both parties. They help ensure that the process is kept fair. The mediation process is often less costly than going to trial, and it helps keep legal matters private.
Right Before Mediation
The process kicks off when both parties agree that they want to pursue this course of action to resolve the issue. From there, a mediator and location are chosen.
In the vetting process, parties will ensure that the selected mediator will have no biases or conflict of interest. Once a suitable one is found, all that’s left is to get to the mediation session.
Before the mediator gets a chance to make a proposal, both parties need to have the opportunity to make their opening statements. This is where they lay out the facts and make their case.
Both sides should try to be as direct and concise as possible, keeping emotion out of the statements. While it’s not uncommon for each side to tell their version of the events, it’s essential to make sure that both are able to do this without interrupting each other and that they are not argumentative or hostile.
Your mediator will be in charge of keeping conflict at a minimum so you can get to the bottom of the problem.
Speaking With the Mediator
After opening, your mediator will ask questions to both sides to figure out what is preventing resolution. The mediator will help to set the pace and settle the discussion.
Basically, this is the part where the mediator will figure out what conclusion either party wants. Here, the facts and preferences will all come together so that a beneficial settlement can be reached.
Making the Deal
Once the mediator has come up with a potential solution, they will present it to both parties. This is where you should consider everything and ask questions.
During this process, both sides will bargain and negotiate until a resolution is finally reached. You should be aware that the proposal could be modified depending on the details that arise. Be sure that you clarify everything so that you know what you’re getting yourself into.
Once you’ve agreed to the terms, the case settles. The mediator will likely draft an agreement that will be signed by both parties, and everyone proceeds with whatever the settlement entails.
You can use mediation at any point during the dispute process. You can use it before you file a lawsuit, while you’re waiting for case movement, or during the trial should you wish to switch gears to this resolution. Either way, a good mediator can help you settle your disputes.
Reach out to Swiney & Bellenger for mediation in Birmingham, AL. We offer our legal expertise to most areas of civil litigation. Schedule a consultation with us for free.