Although parties often voluntarily choose to participate in mediation, in some cases where the dispute has reached litigation, the court may order the parties to engage in good faith mediation before proceeding to trial. Of course, a mediation does not always result in a settlement between the parties. So what happens when the parties don’t agree in a mediation?
What Is Mediation?
Mediation is a form of settlement negotiations that is facilitated by a neutral third party, called a mediator, who helps the parties talk through their dispute and try to reach a mutually agreeable settlement. Mediations involve both of the parties in a legal dispute, their respective attorneys, and the mediator. In most mediations, the parties are kept separate from one another, with the mediator going back and forth to speak directly to each side. This allows the mediator to have frank and open discussions about the respective strengths and weaknesses of the party’s case and of the other side’s case.
Although the mediator tries to use their knowledge and experience to help the parties reach an agreement, the mediator cannot force the parties to reach a settlement. Instead, the parties retain full control over the outcome of the mediation, including whether they agree to a settlement and what the terms of the settlement are.
Why Do Parties Participate in Mediation?
Parties typically participate in mediation to try to reach a settlement to avoid the time and expense of going to trial. Parties may also prefer a settlement over trial, since at trial the outcome is completely in the hands of the judge and jury, whereas a settlement means the parties retain full control over the outcome of their dispute.
Parties may choose to engage the services of a mediator when informal negotiations directly between the parties are not leading towards a settlement. A mediator can provide an outsider’s view of the case, especially when the parties are heavily emotionally invested, and can often offer suggestions for unique resolutions to the dispute. In many cases, after filing suit the court may order the parties to participate in mediation before they can proceed to trial.
What Happens If We Can’t Reach a Settlement at the Mediation?
Because the parties retain full control over the outcome of a mediation, some mediation sessions end with the parties having not reached a settlement. When a mediation ends without a settlement, the parties have several options with how to proceed. In many cases, the mediator may feel that the parties are making progress toward a settlement and may recommend further mediation sessions to the parties.
Alternatively, the parties may choose to continue settlement negotiations directly between themselves. As a case nears trial, parties often become more amenable to a settlement. Or the parties may decide to engage in a different form of alternative dispute resolution, such as arbitration. Ultimately, if the parties cannot resolve their dispute, the case will eventually go to trial, where a judge and/or a jury will make a decision based on the evidence presented by the parties.
Contact a Newark Personal Injury Mediator to Discuss Your Case in New Jersey
Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries in New Jersey? 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.