Preparing for Mediation in an Arizona Personal Injury Case
If you were injured in a vehicle crash, slip and fall, or other accident and decide to sue in court, there is a good chance that the judge will order you to participate in mediation to resolve disputes. During the process, the parties sit down with a professional mediator who is specially trained to facilitate productive conversations. Through these discussions, it is often possible to compromise on the amount of damages that you would accept to settle your case. The American Bar Association points out some of the benefits of mediation, such as quicker resolution, reduced legal fees, and certainty. Through an out-of-court agreement, you do not risk a loss by going to trial.
Though mediation is less formal than going to court, it is still an official proceeding. Preparation is critical to success, especially considering that compromise is the driving force behind mediation. Your Yuma personal injury lawyer will advise you and provide specifics on what to expect, but some tips may be useful as you are getting ready to attend mediation.
Identify Your Objectives
You should not walk into the mediation session standing firm on the full value of your accident claim. Compromise may require both sides to give a little, which means you must assess what you would accept as fair compensation for your losses. You should not accept less for definable, economic losses like medical bills and lost wages, but you could be flexible with amounts for pain and suffering.
Assess Strengths and Weaknesses
Your attorney will advise you on what factors work in your favor and which issues could be cause for concern when taking your case to trial. In general, a solid case with strong evidence would put you in a very strong position in mediation, so you would be motivated to not back down from your demand. If you were partly to blame for causing the accident, your case might be considered quite weak. Arizona’s comparative negligence law might serve to reduce your compensation.
Taking a win-lose approach to mediation is unlikely to produce a positive outcome or enable you to take advantage of the benefits. Instead, the focus should be on ways to ensure both parties walk away from the session feeling like they achieved a victory in some respect.
Understand Options and Next Steps
Mediation is not binding in Arizona accident cases, so you can still proceed with litigation if you are dissatisfied with the result. If you do reach an agreement, your attorney will handle the drafting of documents, reviewing paperwork, and entering the appropriate orders in court. The agreement stemming from mediation is enforceable, and you could receive payment within a short time after the session.
Discuss Mediation Details with Our Yuma, AZ Car Accident Lawyers
When you consider the benefits of mediation, you realize that meaningful participation and advance preparations are essential. Karnas Law Firm, PLLC will support you throughout the legal process, so please call (520) 462-2593 or go online to set up a free case evaluation. We can explain how mediation works and provide additional details.