Ottawa Ontario personal injury lawyer David Hollingsworth.. What is a mediation? How does a mediation affect an Ontario personal injury lawsuit? Not all Ontario personal injury lawsuits get to the mediation stage. Some may settle before that. A mediation in an Ontario personal injury lawsuit is a step that both sides agree to take in order for a speedier resolution and hopefully have the Ontario personal injury lawsuit settle before going to court, which could take years.
In a personal injury mediation, both sides agree on using a mediator. The mediator’s job is to help both sides come together and reach a settlement. Mediators are neutral and are there to help both sides reach an agreement. A personal injury mediation in Ontario is a step before court, whereby both parties can speak directly to one another and are really able to share with the other side what their needs are. It really is a very valuable part of the litigation process and typically results are fair. Most accident victims find that because of the mediation process, they are able to avoid dragging out their personal injury case and avoid going to court. As an Ontario personal injury lawyer, I have found that almost all personal injury cases truly benefit from the mediation process.
Before going to the mediation, Ontario personal injury lawyers are required to prepare the mediator with the facts from their case. Both sides will prepare their own version of this document known as a “mediation brief”. The mediator will typically begin the mediation by stating the facts, as they know them and then turn the floor to the lawyers , who each get a turn to make their opening statements to both the mediator and the other side. In an Ontario personal injury case, the other side is the insurance companies’ lawyer; not the individual driver.
In Ontario, personal injury clients must be present at the mediation; however they are not required to speak. Their Ontario personal injury lawyer is there to represent them and speak on their behalf. Many accident victims like the fact that their lawyer speaks for them; while others do not. At a mediation, the personal injury client is able to speak whenever they feel comfortable, they just don’t have to. This includes answering any questions from the insurance company. The insurance company does not have their client there. In fact, in most cases, the other driver is completely uninvolved in the lawsuit and has no idea as to what amounts or details there are in the case. The settlement cheque does not come from the driver, it comes from the insurance company. The insurance company also does not report back to the driver the amount that was reached at settlement.
Once all of the information has been presented by both lawyers; both sides will typically break off in separate locations to discuss freely and openly what offers they will accept and what offers they would like to make in the hoped of settling the case. The mediator will flow back and forth between both rooms and offer counsel and suggestions to help both sides reach an agreement.
Most Ontario personal injury cases will settle at the mediation stage but not all do. In the case where it does not settle, the mediation process still helps forward the case along as both sides were able to share information and truly get a sense of where the other side is coming from. Sometimes, the mediation allows both sides to leave with some time to think about things and then over the course of the next little while, they are able to reach a resolution, as they have had some time to let things settle and they have had time to simply think. And that is a good thing.
—-The Ottawa Injury Lawyer Blog is written regularly by Ottawa Ontario personal injury lawyer David Hollingsworth. The Ottawa Injury Lawyer Blog reports on accidents in eastern Ontario, personal injury issues, local Ottawa news and events and various news that relates to Ottawa, accidents and personal injury. Visit www.ottawainjury.ca for more information. If you have a subject you would like to know about or if you have a question, please call or email me: [email protected] (613) 978-9549
What happens mediation? Ottawa personal injury lawyers, Ontario personal injury lawyers, Mediation process Ontario
What is a mediation?
If you suffered a personal injury in an accident and are involved in a personal injury law suit in Ottawa or in some other Ontario jurisdictions, one of the required steps is to work at resolving the dispute with your insurance company at the mediation level . The idea is that all facts will be on the table for both sides and a personal injury lawyer can represent you and negotiate with your insurance company on your behalf , avoiding the cost, time and stress of going to court. Each party has the opportunity to express their concerns, tell their stories and attempt to negotiate an agreement. Accident victims should ensure that they completely understand the process and know what to expect before they attend the mediation. Chances of a successful mediation, of resolving the dispute or at least some of the issues between the parties, are enhanced by taking the time to prepare. David meets personally with all his clients before such meetings to sit down, review and discuss what is expected of them at mediation.
What can I expect in a mediation ?
Mediation is simply a step in the legal process designed for people to settle disputes or lawsuits outside of court. A mediator is hired to be unbiased and help both sides come up with a fair solution they are both happy with. The mediator is not a judge or an arbitrator. Mediators are not judges and do not decide who wins and who gets what. The mediator’s role is to help the people involved to reach a fair settlement with each other in a positive manner and move the lawsuit forward, to understand all sides, and to find a resolution that both sides feel good about. The mediator’s role is to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to express themselves, their concerns, and their interests. The purpose of this stage in the process is not to determine who wins and who loses a case, but to come up with a solution and possibly avoid a trial. The process is informal, relaxed and absolutely confidential. The insurance company and the accident victim speak more openly than they would in court. Most accident victims find mediation a more comfortable and constructive process than they would in court.
Typically, a mediation involving a personal injury lawsuit most often begin with the mediator explaining the reasons and procedures for the personal injury mediation. Then the personal injury lawyer and the insurance defence lawyer make opening statements explaining the facts of the case. Both sides involved in a law suit must attend the mediation. However, they are not always required to speak. A personal injury lawyer will often speak on their clients behalf. The mediator may the accident victim if there is anything they want to add. However, it is common for the clients not to speak in the mediation.
How long does a mediation last?
After the opening statements, the parties usually retire to separate rooms where they exchange settlement offers back and forth under the guidance of the mediator. This is often when most personal injury cases develop and a lot of progress is made in resolving the personal injury lawsuit. In some instances the lawyers will have a direct conversation without clients. The mediator may or may not participate. Almost always the person who attends the mediation with the defence lawyer is not the driver but an insurance company representative who decides on behalf of the insurance company how much money in compensation they will pay out to the accident victim.
Unfortunately not all personal injury lawsuits settle at the mediation level, but a lot do. In the instances where they do not settle, the lawyers can continue to discuss settlement and will move forward towards a trial date.