When one hears the term “mediation”, it is likely that they will think of it in terms of an alternative to divorce. However, mediation is also common in personal injury and medical malpractice claims as well.
If you have been injured by a delay in diagnosis or treatment, by a surgical error, by negligent hospital staff, in an urgent care center, in an emergency room, or any other kind of injury resulting from the reckless or negligent actions of medical staff, and have filed a medical malpractice claim, there is a good chance that either the judge may order mediation before your trial begins, or you and the insurance company of the negligent party mutually agree into mediation.
But what is medical malpractice mediation, and how does it work? Let’s take a look.
What is Medical Malpractice Mediation?
Somerset County Medical Malpractice Attorney
In a medical malpractice mediation, both sides will seek to find an acceptable settlement for the injury claim with the help of a neutral, third-party outside a courtroom setting. Reaching a settlement in any medical malpractice claim has benefits for both sides; the injured party recovers compensation much more quickly than they would through a trial and jury verdict, not to mention the fact that there is always the possibility that said jury will not award compensation at all. For the insurance company, settlements prevent them from having to pay for expensive legal fees through the duration of a trial, and also allows them to settle the matter without an admission of guilt or wrongdoing.
It is estimated that almost 97% of all personal injury and medical malpractice cases are settled outside of the courts, however, if you are seeking the absolute maximum compensation possible, or an admission of guilt by the negligent party, than accepting settlement may not be for you. Speak with our Somerset County medical malpractice firm today to discuss your options and needs further, and to obtain legal guidance what kind of settlement offer may be possible and fair to you, and how to go about obtaining such an offer.
During the medical malpractice mediation process, the third-party mediator (usually a retired judge or an attorney experienced in the specific matter at hand) will work with both parties to gain a clear understanding of each sides position and desired outcome, help the parties express these positions and desires to each-other, and work to find a solution which is acceptable and fair to both sides. The mediation process takes place outside of the courtroom, making it a more informal, and sometimes less stressful process than traditional court-decided injury claims.
Just because you enter into mediation negotiations however, does not mean you ultimately have to accept a settlement. If the insurance company is proving particularly intractable, and is not making offers which fairly take into account the compensation you need and deserve, you and your Somerset County medical malpractice attorney can end discussions, and take your claim to the courts.
When Will Mediation Take Place in My Medical Malpractice Claim?
Bridgewater, NJ Injury Lawyer
There are two potential scenarios in which mediation will take place during your medical malpractice claim. The first is if the judge believes there is a chance to resolve your claim through mediation before beginning the trial process, they will order that the parties enter into mediation in an attempt to reach an acceptable settlement.
The second scenario in which mediation can take place during your medical malpractice claim is if both sides believe there is the potential to reach an acceptable settlement, and are willing to work together towards this goal.
Again, while the goal of the medical malpractice mediation process is to find an acceptable settlement to your claim, that doesn’t mean you should, or have to, accept a settlement offer which does not accurately take into account the compensation you need and deserve for your medical expenses, lost income, and emotional and physical pain and suffering. By having our experienced medical malpractice legal representation on your side, we can advise you when a settlement offer is fair to you and likely the best that will be made, when a settlement offer is insufficient but further negotiation may yield a better offer, or when no amount of negotiation will result in an offer that is fair to you, and you should instead pursue court litigation.
What to Expect During the Medical Malpractice Mediation Process
New Brunswick, NJ Medical Malpractice Attorney
When you first enter into medical malpractice mediation, the mediator will ask both sides of the dispute to present a “mediation statement”. This statement will outline each party’s position, the facts of the case as they see them, and the type of resolution they are hoping to achieve through mediation. This will provide the mediator with a starting point for the mediation process from which they can work to find a middle-ground solution.
As the process unfolds, both sides will then present their positions verbally to the other, and with the help of the mediator, both as a group and separately, try to find an acceptable resolution. If a settlement is reached, the mediator will draft a document outlining the specific terms agreed to by both parties, and upon its signature, submit this document to the courts as a formal settlement agreement, and the matter will now be legally finalized and binding according to the terms outlined in the settlement agreement.
It is important to remember that while the mediation process may be a more informal and relaxed process than traditional court litigation, it is still highly critical that you are careful in what you say, and how you say it. Just because the goal of mediation is to find a fair settlement for both sides, that doesn’t mean the insurance company won’t take advantage of any opening you give them to strengthen their position, and ultimately settle for less. However, by retaining experienced legal counsel during this process, your New Brunswick medical malpractice attorney can prepare you for what kind of questions you should expect to be asked, and how to best answer them.
Somerset County Medical Malpractice Attorney Secures Financial Compensation
Whether your medical malpractice claim is ultimately resolved through negotiation, mediation, or courtroom litigation, the most important part is that you recover full and fair compensation, compensation which helps you and your family to begin rebuilding your lives.
At The Law Office of Brain J. Levine, we have extensive experience helping clients across Somerville, Bridgewater, New Brunswick, Somerset County, and Hunterdon County to recover compensation in medical malpractice claims of all kinds. Attorney Brian Levine is a New Jersey Supreme Court Certified Civil Trial Attorney, an elite distinction held by only 2% of the active lawyers in the state. This certification is a recognition of Brian Levine’s trial skills, legal knowledge, and ability to communicate with clients, and with over $7.5 million recovered for clients in the last three years, Mr. Levine is ready to put his skills, experience, and effective counsel to work for you today.
To speak with our firm and Brian Levine in a free and confidential consultation regarding your potential medical malpractice claim, your options for recovering compensation, or your medical malpractice mediation, please contact us online, or through our Somerville, NJ office at (908) 524-0123.