How to Prepare for a Car Accident Mediation
A car accident mediation is an alternative procedure that allows victims to solve the dispute with an insurance company without going to court. During the mediation process, the mediator tries to help the two parties reach an amicable settlement.
Make sure that the other party is willing to negotiateThe first aspect to consider before embarking on this journey is whether the other party is as willing as you are to take part in the negotiations. If you have any doubts about their intention of reaching a settlement, discuss with your lawyer, and try to make the right decision. Mediation is not free of charge, and it will be a shame to pay for it if there is little or no hope of solving the car accident claim amicably.
Work with an experienced mediatorJust like lawyers, mediators are also judged according to their expertise and years of practice. The person you choose to work with is essential because once the process begins, he or she will be the one who does all the talking on behalf of each party. If you want to increase your chance to reach a favorable outcome, you should try to find a mediator who is experienced in settling car accident claims. Your attorney might help you out on this, and it's also useful to do some extra research on your own before you decide upon a particular person.
Gather all the evidence related to your car accidentDuring mediation, you shouldn't be accusing the other party. Instead, you should be focusing on finding the most convenient solution for both of you. Nevertheless, just like in a traditional trial, proofs are necessary. They allow the mediator to evaluate your car accident claim, offer pertaining recommendations and facilitate the discussions between you and the other party. Therefore, you have to be thorough in gathering all the evidence, starting with car crash proofs like photos or video recordings and all the correlated documentation.
Discover more about gathering evidence for your car accident case: https://www.seanclearypa.com/rollover-accidents/investigation/
Make sure that you deal with a person who has authority to settleBefore you step into the mediator's office, try to understand who the other party is. You have to be one hundred percent sure that the person who shows up for the negotiations is entirely capable of making decisions. You wouldn't want to go through the entire procedure and built up false expectations just to hear that the other party isn't allowed to sign anything unless they receive approval. So, don't hesitate to ask the mediator to clarify this before you proceed with the discussions.
Prepare a thorough opening statementBefore the actual negotiation begins, each party has the chance to present the facts from his or her perspective through what is called an opening statement. This is an essential step of the mediation procedure. You shouldn't wave your right to have an opening statement, although you are entitled to do so. The statements help both parties understand each other's needs and intentions better. Also, it is a good chance for the mediator to grasp a better understanding of the circumstances that lead to the car accident.
While you deliver your opening statement, try to:
o be polite
o avoid using any offensive terms
o use neutral language
o refrain from any impulsive behavior
o be honest and concise
Be open when talking to the mediatorAfter these preliminary presentations are over, each party will proceed on their own through private discussions with the mediator. During this second stage of the mediation procedure, it is recommended to be completely honest with the mediator. This will ease matters and help settle faster. It's your choice whether you want to disclose all the details related to the car crash or not. However, it usually helps mediators facilitate negotiations if they have a full understanding of the event.
Be willing to compromiseMediation is all about finding a common path on which both parties agree to set foot, and this often means comprising. Before the mediator starts the official discussion, you have to agree with your lawyer on how far you are ready to go. This means you have to consider both best and worst case scenarios. Think about the offer you are ready to settle for and make sure your lawyer and mediator understand your expectations, but at the same time keep an open mind and be willing to adapt. Mediation frequently leads to solutions that won't fully satisfy one party or another. However, it's always better to get something than nothing at all, which is often the result of court trials. Besides, during mediation, you can influence the outcome, whereas in a legal case, you're at the mercy of other people who decide what is right and wrong.
Try to understand the other party's perspectiveLast but not the least, it's essential to be tactful during the negotiations. In other words, it's important how you choose your words. Be honest and express your point of view, but try to do it in a polite manner that doesn't seem aggressive or insulting for the other party. Moreover, it would help a lot if you put yourself in the other person's shoes and try to understand their interest and perspective as well.
The bottom line is that no one likes legal procedures, so arm yourself with patience and flexibility during the car accident mediation process because it is your chance to avoid the turmoil of the court.