FAQs on mediation and personal injury

What is mediation?

Mediation involves a claimant sitting down with the other party to a personal injury dispute and an independent third party (a mediator) to try to resolve the dispute. It is an informal process which is entirely voluntary. The mediator is usually not legally qualified but is trained in facilitating mediations.

Is mediation used for personal injury?

Mediation is often used for personal injury claims. Mediation allows both parties to discuss their side of the dispute openly, to try to reach an agreement about liability and compensation. Both parties gain some advantages from mediation. The claimant is able to discuss the impact the incident has had on their life, the other party is able to avoid the negative publicity associated with contested court proceedings. Mediation represents a more cost effective and timely method of resolving personal injury disputes.

For which types of personal injury claims is mediation suitable?

Mediation is suitable for less complex personal injury claims. If liability is contested, mediation is less likely to be suitable. Similarly, if there are complex points of law to be decided, mediation is unlikely to be able to resolve such questions. Or, if there are complex aspects to the calculation of the amount of compensation to be paid, the traditional litigation path is likely to be more suitable.

Can an agreement made in mediation be legally binding?

Whilst mediation itself is a non-binding process, it is possible to draw up a legally-binding agreement which incorporates the agreement reached through mediation. The mediator will usually help both parties to write down the main points of agreement. A personal injury lawyer can then draw this up into a legally binding agreement.

What if mediation is unsuccessful?

If mediation is unsuccessful the parties can then commence the traditional litigation process. The parties can continue to negotiate through their personal injury lawyers. However, if agreement is not reached through negotiations, the claimant will need to file their claim at court.

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