Alternative Dispute Resolution and Mediation Can Lead To Satisfying Client Experience
Alternative dispute resolution is a vital component of our legal system in the United States today. Alternative dispute resolution, or ADR, can be an efficient method of resolving disputes without the expense of taking a case to trial. ADR primarily consists of arbitration and mediation. Both methods of ADR have their advantages. However, mediation can lead to a more satisfying client experience which, in the end, translates into a sense of justice being served.
An accredited mediator conducts meditation. Most mediators are lawyers or retired judges who use their knowledge of the law and their skills in resolving differences to bring disputes to an end. The role of the mediator is essentially that of a diplomat. The mediator will frequently open the proceedings by reciting an outline of the expectations of the mediation procedure as well as the roles of the respective parties, including the mediator personally. Depending upon how the mediator wishes to conduct the mediation, the mediator can "shuttle" between conference rooms where each party and their lawyers are waiting, or the discussion can take place in the open. The mediator could also use a hybrid procedure whereby each party states its position to the other, and then separates.
The mediator controls the discussion and encourages both sides to discuss their expectations of the case openly. The parties have a chance to talk about why they believe their position is correct and why they believe their case has a particular value. In the case of a car accident mediation, for example, the mediator could begin the mediation by attempting to arrive at a consensus on the cause of the wreck. Mediation cannot progress to settling on damages if the parties cannot agree on the relative fault of the parties for causing the accident. The mediator will use the momentum gained by reaching an agreement on the cause of the accident to come to an agreement on damages.
The mediator would listen to each side's argument as to damages and will present the counter-argument for the opposition. Operating with this method allows each side some insight into what the other party might argue in the future if no settlement is reached. Additionally, the mediator can use his or her experience in the law to explain why the party might be overstating their case or why a judge or jury could rule differently. The personal injury victim benefits from hearing this impartial and balanced opinion from a person with vast experience because the mediator is completely neutral. A mediator, sometimes called a neutral, has no dog in the fight. The mediator's only interest is in making sure the mediation process is fair so that the parties have the best chance to resolve their differences.
While the mediator may talk the personal injury victim down from their initial stance, the mediator has an obligation to talk the insurance company into raising their settlement figure. Mediation is not one-sided. The mediator presents the strengths and weaknesses of the case to both parties. The insurance company has different considerations than you the personal injury victim. Notwithstanding, the mediator will work with the personal injury victim's position to persuade the insurance company to raise their offer.
Personal injury victims benefit from mediation because they get to see the process unfold before them and they take an active role in the process. Ultimately, they have the final say and have some measure of control over the resolution. Once a personal injury victim feels in control of their life again, they can rest assured justice was done and can move on with their lives.
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If you have been involved in any type of accident causled by someone else's negligence, call Montlick & Associates, Attorneys at Law for your free consultation today. Montlick & Associates has been representing those who suffer serious injuries throughout all of Georgia and in the Southeast for over 35 years, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state.
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