In many civil cases, the parties will attempt to resolve their dispute in lieu of going to trial. If you’ve never been involved in a mediation before, you may not know what to expect. When you’ve been informed that your civil lawsuit is going to mediation, you may want to familiarize yourself with what to expect.
What is a Mediation?
Mediation refers to a type of alternative dispute resolution where settlement negotiations between two parties in a legal dispute is facilitated by a neutral third party known as a mediator. Thus, unlike the formal process of a trial, mediation is considered an informal process, as mediation just involves you and your attorney, the other side and their counsel, and the mediator. The goal of a mediation is to reach a negotiated settlement that resolves the case.
Why a Lawsuit Goes to Mediation
Even after a legal dispute ends up being filed as a lawsuit in court, the parties may still end up going to mediation. In many cases, the court will order the parties to engage in mediation before scheduling a trial. Even when the court does not require the parties to participate in mediation, the parties may choose to go through the process after a lawsuit is filed. The real prospect of a trial can make parties more willing to reach a negotiated settlement, which can help them avoid the cost and time of going all the way to trial and the risk of an unexpected verdict.
What Happens in a Mediation?
Mediation will be attended by the parties and their respective attorneys and by the mediator. Although the mediation may start off with both parties in the same room with each side making an initial presentation, the primary work of mediation usually occurs with both parties in different rooms, with the mediator going back and forth between each room to discuss the case and potential settlement terms. Alternatively, a mediation may be conducted virtually, with the parties being in separate rooms or channels.
The purpose behind having the parties separate is to allow the mediator to have an open and honest discussion about the strengths and weaknesses of each side’s case, outside of earshot of the other party. However, mediators are required to keep secret any confidential information disclosed to the mediator, unless that party consents to disclosure to the other side.
A mediator can only use their knowledge and experience in the law and in similar cases to help both parties reach a mutually agreeable settlement. The mediator cannot force the parties to settle. Instead, the parties retain full control over the outcome of the mediation, including the terms of any settlement or even whether any settlement is reached.
In some cases, no settlement is reached by the end of the mediation session. However, based on the progress made, the mediator may recommend further mediation sessions if they believe that they might reasonably lead to a settlement. If the mediation does not result in a settlement, the parties may choose to proceed with the litigation and go to trial.
Contact a Haddonfield Mediator to Discuss Your Case in New Jersey
Do you have a legal issue that needs to be mediated? An experienced, knowledgeable mediator can help you and the parties at fault for your injuries work toward a settlement that gets the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled mediators at Hercules Law Group, LLC help clients with personal injury claims in Gloucester County, Camden County, Burlington County, and throughout New Jersey. Call (856) 372-5922 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at One Gateway Center, Newark, NJ 07103, as well as offices in Hamilton Township, Vineland, Freehold, Toms River, Neptune City, New Brunswick, Bridgewater, Princeton, Hoboken, Morristown, Jersey City, Flemington, Montclair, Hackensack, and New York, NY.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.