Personal injury cases are often hard on the complainants. Not only do they have to work on trying to heal and adjust to their new life with the injuries, they must navigate through a complex legal process. All of this can take its toll on victims. Many people in this situation just want to have everything over with as quickly as possible.
One option is to work out a settlement. This might be done through mediation sessions. Mediation is usually a faster and less expensive option than having to go through trial. Here are some points to remember about mediation and settlements:
It takes time
It is highly unlikely that you will be able to reach a settlement in the first mediation session. Often, there are multiple meetings and offers before a final settlement is reached. This gives both sides time to consider offers before formally agreeing to one. Most complainants start off asking for a settlement that is higher than they are willing to accept. Most defendants will begin by offering one that is much lower than what the case is actually worth. This gives both sides room to negotiate, so don’t become discouraged when you don’t receive an excellent offer in the first round of negotiations.
Terms will apply
All settlements have specific terms attached to them. In exchange for the agreed upon compensation, you will usually have to waive your right to seek money in the future if you find out that your settlement doesn’t cover all of the expenses of the injury. There might also be a confidentiality clause that prevents you from being able to discuss the specifics of the settlement with anyone. Most defendants won’t admit guilt in these cases. Failing to abide by the agreed upon terms can negate the settlement so be sure you understand what you are signing.
It might not work
Sometimes, the complainant and defendant can’t agree upon the terms of a settlement. In these cases, the mediation will end and the case can move to a trial. This is why you should work to prepare your case for trial even if you are attempting to work something out with the other side. You don’t want to go into a trial unprepared for it since that can negatively hurt your chance of receiving the compensation you deserve.