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What Happens During a Car Accident Mediation?

When you’ve been involved in a California car accident due to another’s negligence, you are entitled to fair compensation for your loss and injury. Experienced California car accident attorneys are often able to settle claims out of court with the other driver’s insurance company. 

Sometimes, however, reaching an agreement for compensation isn’t so easy.

In instances when car crash claims cannot be settled through informal negotiations, mediation may be the next step before jury trial. So what exactly happens during a car accident mediation, and what should you expect? 

Negotiation vs. mediation of car crash claims: What’s the difference?

Negotiation

Negotiating your car accident claim is an attempt by your attorney and the insurance company to reach a fair settlement agreement for damages outside of formal court proceedings. The process is initiated via a demand letter in which your attorney proposes a settlement amount that would be acceptable to you and, if agreed to and paid by the insurance company, would satisfy your car accident claim. 

Rarely does the car insurance company accept the initial proposal, and a series of back-and-forth exchanges are made between parties until an agreement is reached. In cases where the parties cannot agree, your attorney may suggest mediation.

Mediation

A form of alternative dispute resolution, mediation engages a neutral third party to assist in brokering a settlement agreement between you and the opposing party. While either party may suggest mediation when informal talks fail, successful mediation is dependent on both parties’ strong desire to reach an agreement, sparing the added expense and compounded stress of a protracted legal battle. 

What can you expect during mediation?

After both parties agree to mediation, a mediator is selected, and a date to begin mediation is set. 

The Mediator

The neutral party, or mediator, is generally a retired judge or experienced attorney with relevant experience in car accident cases. Mediators facilitate the settlement process in a non-adversarial manner, seeking common ground between the parties and moving them toward a final resolution.  

The Mediation Process

Mediation is not a courtroom proceeding; all parties will meet at a neutral location, often the mediator’s office. Initially, the involved parties will all meet in the same room. At this time, opening arguments are presented, and the mediator may ask initial questions about the case. 

The parties will then move to separate rooms, and the mediator will meet with each party privately to discuss the car accident case and settlement demands. Acting as a go-between to each party, a mediator uses their understanding of the law to help each side independently understand the merits and weaknesses of their arguments. 

Mediators will ask questions, relay information, and make informed recommendations so the parties can better evaluate concessions and demands. The mediator works with each party hoping to broker a mutually agreeable settlement.

Hire a California Car Accident Attorney Today

Experienced car accident attorneys understand that it’s in your best interest to quickly receive fair compensation, avoiding drawn-out and costly legal battles whenever possible. 

Mediation proves a sound alternative to failed negotiations. The guidance offered by a well-respected, neutral mediator helps temper emotions and assure that both parties stay fact-directed and focused toward arriving at fair compensation. 

Have you or someone you love suffered from a car accident in California? You are best served by hiring a California car accident attorney to represent your claim through negotiations, mediation, and trial if necessary. 

Contact our office today to schedule a complete case review with one of our knowledgeable car accident lawyers.