Mediation of Personal Injury Claims
Mediation in Louisiana
The Louisiana Mediation Act promotes the use of mediation to settle civil disputes. (Louisiana Code Title XIX, Ch. 1 – Louisiana Mediation Act (LMA)). The act regulates the proper procedures for attorneys, the referral process, mediator qualification and selection process, and attendance, cost, agreements, and confidentiality requirements.
What is Mediation?
Mediation is a process that involves a neutral party listening to all sides of a dispute, analyzing the legal theories that are applicable and providing a recommendation for resolving the dispute. These proceedings are voluntary and non-binding, which means that even though a decision results from the proceedings, each party is free to continue through other alternative dispute resolution processes, or file suit, if appropriate.
The Basics of Mediation in Personal Injury Cases
Most courts nowadays require the parties to attend mediation to try to get the case settled before proceeding with any lawsuit. The basic structure of
personal injury mediation is as follows; the mediator meets with all sides in the beginning, and then meets separately with each party to see if he or she can get the parties to agree on a settlement. There are no restrictions on what can be said or how facts and opinions are presented, and anything said or used within the mediation proceedings cannot be later used at trial. Mediation can go on for hours or even days and although it may not always be successful, it has a very good track record in getting cases settled and saving people time and money.
There are a number of professional mediation services, which are staffed by full-time mediators who usually have both mediation experience and a legal background. The mediators are often lawyers or retired judges. There are also independent mediators, who are usually practicing or retired lawyers and or retired judges.
The cost of mediation is usually split equally between the two sides. The process is intended to be informal; the purpose is to allow each side to have its say without the burden of special legal procedures, and without fear that if they say the wrong thing they can “lose” in the dispute.
Benefits of Mediation for Your Personal Injury Claim
Mediation can be much faster, easier, and less expensive than the alternatives of hiring a lawyer or going to small claims court. Most personal injury disputes are settled prior to trial, and mediation can help you accomplish this with less expense than going to trial.
Cons of Mediation an Injury Claim
There are also barriers to mediating a personal injury claim. Mediation can become costly if the discussions last more than a few hours. Also, it can be hard to get an insurance adjuster to agree to mediation because of the extra work it requires — including a personal appearance at the mediation session.
Mediation May Help
Every personal injury claim is different and laws may change. A personal injury lawyer can help if you have questions or need legal advice. Contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at
Smiley Law today.
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