The purpose of mediation is to settle the case and avoid the stress, time investment, expense and risk of trial.
Mediation is a process by which a neutral third party, almost always a lawyer, who is called a mediator meets with the parties for the purposes of working with them to bring the parties to a mutually agreeable settlement.
The mediator does not have the power to make a decision and may not impose his or her judgment on the issues for that of the parties. The mediator’s sole function is to get the parties to agree on a settlement. Nothing can happen at a mediation without your consent.
Accordingly, the settlement occurs only if both parties agree. This is different from arbitration in which the arbitrator makes a ruling or decision.
IS MEDIATION MANDATORY? Yes, in most Personal Injury cases. The Minnesota Rules of Court require that the parties use some form of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). Mediation is the most commonly used form of ADR. Accordingly, in most cases the Judge will order the parties to use mediation. In Workers’ Compensation cases, mediation is not mandatory but is commonly used. Mediation is not mandatory in Medical Malpractice cases.
WHO WILL BE THE MEDIATOR? In almost all cases, the mediator is selected by the attorneys-who are usually able to agree upon a mediator that is acceptable to both sides. Usually the mediator is an attorney experienced in Personal Injury or Workers’ Compensation cases or a retired Judge who has handled Personal Injury or Workers’ Compensation cases while on the bench. If the parties cannot agree, the Judge will appoint the mediator.
HOW DOES THE MEDIATION PROCESS WORK? Mediation is typically held in the offices of one of the attorneys or the mediator. The mediator typically meets privately and separately with each side and their attorneys. The mediator will typically go back and forth between the parties, meeting with each side privately in an attempt to bring the parties to a mutually acceptable settlement.
WHAT DO I NEED TO DO TO PREPARE FOR MEDIATION? Your lawyer at the Schmidt-Salita Law Team will prepare a document called a mediation submission that is presented to the mediator in advance of the mediation.
IS MEDIATION A GOOD THING? Absolutely. This is your best and maybe your last chance to settle your case without having to go through a full-blown trial. Some just don’t settle and have to go to court. Not all cases settle on the date of the mediation and the mediation process can continue over a period of weeks with the mediator continuing to work with the parties. Overall, mediation, in most cases, is a good thing.