Lawsuits can be long, drawn-out matters that last for months or years before they conclude. Putting fate in the hands of a jury can mean a big win or a big loss. With so many cases filling court dockets, many lawyers suggest that their clients turn to mediation as a way to resolve and conclude legal cases.
Also known as “alternative dispute resolution,” mediation is an option to resolve conflicts and issues that can stall a case or settlement. The goal is to bring both sides together and work towards a solution before a trial. Mediation is sometimes the last step before a pre-trial hearing, and many cases can be resolved this way, without a trial.
What Kind Of Cases Can Go To Mediation?
Many civil and occasionally non-violent matters can benefit from mediation, including:
- Personal injury
- Medical malpractice
- Employment law, including management/labor union disputes
- Family law (divorce, child custody)
- Landlord/tenant issues
- Probate and estate cases
Mediation can also be a better option than a lawsuit for matters without legal issues, such as neighbor disputes or a similar conflict.
Why Consider Mediation?
With mediation, a neutral third party examines both sides of the case and works to bring both sides of the lawsuit to voluntarily and mutually agree on a resolution prior to trial. Mediation is an informal process as opposed to the formal process of the court.As many attorneys know, taking a case to trial is no guarantee of a win, despite the skills and abilities of legal counsel. Going to trial is generally taking a big risk of losing.Taking a case through mediation can lead to a quicker settlement and resolution. With the plaintiff side in one room and the defense in a second room, the mediator speaks with both parties individually and encourages both sides to come to an agreement. This keeps one more case out of the court systems and can save both parties time and money over a full-blown lawsuit.One of the biggest differences is that in court, the judge and jury have power over the case and can make decisions that affect both sides. Generally, one wins, one loses. But a mediator fosters the discussion between the two parties but makes no decisions in the case, and has no power to require the parties to settle on a decision.Both parties have control over the outcome in mediation, whereas, in court, the parties have absolutely no control over the outcome.Texas Southern University offers ground rules for conducting mediation successfully.
Advantages Of Mediation
There are several reasons why mediation can be a viable option.
- Resolution can be faster. Getting a court ruling can take years in some cases. Mediation can resolve a case in a few hours, or in a few sessions.
- Less expensive than a trial. Mediation can cost thousands less than legal fees and court costs.
- Direct communications between the parties. Not through each other’s attorneys.
- The parties involved are the decision-makers. No jury or judge is involved.
- In most cases, everything is kept confidential. There may be exceptions, but in most cases, everything discussed in mediation is confidential. In court cases, everything is a matter of public record and can be used in a later lawsuit. That’s not the case with mediation.
While mediation has a high rate of success, there are no guarantees, and mediation is not successful 100% of the time. The process can only be successful if both parties have all of the lawsuit’s information to examine, including the mediator, so entering into mediation early in the case may not work as well.Mediation allows the parties an opportunity to work for a resolution prior to going to a risky trial. But attempting mediation for nearly any kind of lawsuit is worth trying.
Is Mediation Right For You? Let Popham Law Help
Mediation can help with a difficult lawsuit, or help resolve issues that have all parties deadlocked. It’s also important to have someone who is not only trained in mediation but understands the laws involved.Popham Law’s considerable experience in employment law, personal injury, and medical malpractice in the Kansas City area mean that we are an ideal partner as third-party mediators.If you or a loved one is involved in a lawsuit that seems to be going nowhere, or if a court has ordered you to engage in mediation, contact us at (844) 243-2288 or through our website to discuss your case.