Should I mediate my case?
What is a mediator?
Is it important which mediator I choose?
Which mediator should I use in the Dallas-Fort Worth area?
First, let me explain what a mediation is about. Assuming you do not have an attorney, this information below may be helpful.
Mediation is a voluntary procedure for the parties to use to help resolve the case. A mediator is usually an attorney, former judge, or other person trained in mediation. A mediator does not have any control over the parties though. A mediator does not have power to instruct the injured victim to settle or the insurance company to pay money to the injured victim. Instead, the mediator’s role is to facilitate communication between the parties. Over half of my cases settle at mediation in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
In my experience, mediation is required by most courts. District judges in Tarrant and Dallas County usually require that the parties to mediate their case before going to trial. In most cases, the court will allow the parties to choose their own mediator. I believe that it is very important which mediator you select regarding your case. Only an attorney with significant experience in litigation we help you choose the right mediator for your particular case. Like lawyers, mediators are not all created equal.
Usually the mediation is at the mediator’s office. Most mediators will provide a conference room for opening remarks by the parties and then separate the parties into individual offices. During open remarks, each side will talk to the mediator and opposing party about the case regarding liability and damages. After opening remarks, the mediator will usually separate the parties into separate rooms. The mediator will meet with the injured victim and may get additional details about the case. At that point in time, the injured victim will exchange a formal demand for an amount of my money to settle the case. The mediator will take this information to another room where the insurance company representative and lawyer is located. The mediator will exchange information with the insurance company and get their response to arguments and the opening demand. Each side gets an opportunity to explain to the mediator why they believe they will win their case or what the value of the case is in front of a jury. After the mediator gets insurance company side of the story, the insurance company normally makes a counteroffer of money to settle the claim. It is this process of going back-and-forth that facilitates negotiations and ultimately a settlement.
In the Fort Worth area, I always recommend Wade McMullen located at 6300 Ridglea Pl # 509, Fort Worth, Texas 76116. He has mediated thousands of cases and is used by both attorneys and insurance companies.
At the mediation there is no formal record. Mediation is completely confidential and any statements made during mediation cannot be used against the party at trial. Strategically, mediation is a fantastic tool to find out what the other party thinks about their case including strengths and weaknesses.
If my case settles at mediation what happens next?
Once the injured victim agrees on an amount that compensates the injured victim for his damages, then usually it takes about two to three weeks for the insurance company lawyer to prepare the documents and collect the settlement check. Afterwards, the injured victim’s attorney will deposit the settlement check into the attorney’s trust account. When the settlement check clears, the checks are prepared to pay the injured victim, medical expenses, and attorney fees.
If my case does not settle what happens next?
If your case does not settle at mediation, then the next step is to prepare for trial. In my experience, negotiation still continues up until the day of trial. Even if the case does not settle at mediation, there is a significant chance that the case will settle at some point before trial. In the event the case does not settle then ultimately a trial will be held and a jury will decide who is at fault and how much money the injured victim should get for his damages.
If you have any questions regarding mediation and you not have an attorney, please do not hesitate to call our office.. At the Eric Reyes Law Firm, we never charge a consultation fee.