Car Accident Mediation in Utah–What is it?
Car accidents insurance claims make up the bulk of most personal injury attorney’s case load. Car accident mediation is often used to resolve litigated car accident injury cases in Utah. In fact, before you can even get a jury trial date, the judge will often require you to mediate first.
What is Utah Car Accident Mediation?
Mediation is a voluntary process in car accident injury cases. Meaning, you can’t be forced to mediate if you don’t want to. The parties in car accident mediations usually sit in different rooms with their respective attorneys. The mediator goes back and forth carrying offers from one party to another. Good mediators will offer their evaluation of your case and help you find your next offer. Good mediators will be personable, able to clearly see the issues and strike immediately at the heart of the dispute to resolve it. Mediators will tell you your strengths and weaknesses of the case.
Who are the Car Accident Mediators?
A mediator can be anyone, but in Utah car accident injury cases mediators are generally really experienced practicing attorneys who hold themselves out “for hire” as mediators. These car accident mediators are generally insurance defense and sometimes plaintiffs attorneys who have worked in the car accident and insurance law world their entire career. Some mediators mediate full-time and don’t practice law for injured plaintiffs or for insurance companies.
When do you Mediate Car Accident Cases in Utah?
Mediation generally comes at the end of the case, but can come early in the case. Most car accident cases that are mediated are generally filed lawsuits. You can mediate a car accident injury case after a lawsuit is filed or before a lawsuit is filed.
Who Can Ask for Car Accident Mediation?
The injured plaintiff can ask for mediation or the defendant at-fault party can ask for mediation. Often the judge will not give you a jury trial setting unless you first try to mediation.
Can you Mediate More Than One Time if the First Mediation Failed?
You can mediate a second, third or fourth time if you want after your first mediation fails. Most cases are only mediate one time, whereafter if the mediation fails, the parties set the matter for a trial. Larger cases tend to mediate twice. Smaller cases tend to mediate only once.
Where are Mediations Held?
Before COVID mediations were generally held at one of the attorney’s office. Now mediations are often held online through a video platform.
Benefits of Mediation.
Risk v. Certainty.
A mediated agreement may not be liked by everyone, but at least you know what you got. Jury trials are risky business and you never have certainty of outcome with a jury or judge trial. Mediated agreements are conquering risk over certainty. With an exact mediated dollar amount you can tell exactly where your liens amounts will be and what the net clear amount of compensation to your client will be.
Mediation is faster then waiting for a jury trial date. Jury trial dates, especially now with the COVID backlog are extremely difficult to get for civil or criminal jury trials. You can be a year out if asking for a jury trial.
Mediations normally take a half day to conduct, some times a full day for more complicated cases. Just picking a jury can take all morning long. Most jury trials are two full days.
Although most mediators charge nearly $350 per hour, mediators are still cheaper than hiring expert witnesses who commonly charge $5,000. Mediation costs are split by the parties, each bearing ½ of the mediator’s fee.
When is Mediation Not Appropriate?
The whole purpose of mediation is a compromised settlement value on your personal injury claim. When your injuries need to be valued and judged by a jury, for complete and fair compensation, mediation is not appropriate.