Mediation in Leesburg Pedestrian Accident Cases

Mediation is what is known as a form of Alternate Dispute Resolution or ADR. Mediation involves an alternative to trial before a judge or jury in which both parties present their cases to a trained mediator to assess the strengths and weaknesses of each side, and the intention is to find a mutually acceptable resolution of the case.

Due to the complex nature of trials in Virginia in pedestrian accident cases, as well as the high cost of litigation, it is often a preferred method of dispute resolution to take a Leesburg pedestrian accident case to mediation. The role of mediation in a pedestrian case is that it can be a less expensive alternative with a suitable result for an injured person.

Benefits of Mediation

Typically, a mediator is going to cost less than going to trial because expert witnesses, depositions, costly trial exhibits are often not needed. Mediation may also bring a faster result than you would get by taking the case to trial; in many different jurisdictions, it takes several months or even years to have the case dismissed to a civil trial.

Another positive for mediation is typically the definiteness of the result. By taking a case to mediation, the judge or jury could come up with a decision that renders a defense verdict and the injured person gets no money.

Additionally, in a mediation, the injured party tends to have more input as to the outcome of the case, meaning that they are considered by the mediator and they should see that during the process what the mediator felt the strengths and weaknesses of the claim were.

How a Mediator is Chosen

Typically, in a pedestrian accident case, the parties will find a mediator that is acceptable to both entities. It is uncommon to have a court-appointed mediator instead, the parties will hire a private mediator with the cost split between the two.

If Mediation Fails

The result of a mediation can come out in one of two ways – the parties can work the case out or not work the case out. If they do not work the case out, typically, they maintain the ability to go to trial. Mediation is non-binding in that respect.

Some important things to consider for mediation are that it gives you a preview of what issues may arise at trial, what defense needs may arise, and what some of the strengths and weaknesses of the case may be.

Disadvantages of Mediation

Mediators tend to be more conservative than judges, meaning that if a mediator can try to come to a resolution in which both parties agree, the party paying the claim is likely never going to agree in a mediation to pay the maximum amount of claim, however, it could be the result of a trial verdict.

Also, sometimes mediation is not binding. Just because the parties are working with a mediator to make a recommendation, the parties do not have to accept it, which would not render a definite outcome.

Insurance Approach

Insurance companies typically approach mediation, if they agree to go to mediation at all, as an opportunity to resolve the case with a verdict that they can live with. They are never going to agree at a mediation to pay out the maximum amount of claim, there is not a whole lot of sense for them to do that. However, in the mediation process, they may be able to reach a resolution that is in everyone’s best interests.

Injury Attorney’s Approach

Injury attorneys approach mediation both as an opportunity to settle a claim promptly and effectively for their client and also as a preview to what issues an insurance company may bring up if the case has to go to trial.

Typically, an attorney is going to prepare for mediation very similarly to the way they would prepare for a trial or a deposition. This means creating a mediation packet for the mediator to review ahead of time including potential trial exhibits, favorable evidence such as expert witness explanations, police reports, or things of that nature, and some of the preview information on damages. They will also have many of their arguments prepared ahead of time so that they can explain their case concisely and efficiently to the mediator.

Mediation is a different process than litigation, it requires some finesse and working with the many personalities involved. Because the process is different, it is important to have an attorney that has gone to mediation before and understands what issues may arise in the process.