What Should I Know About Mediation for a Car Accident Case?

If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident caused by the actions of another driver on the roadways of Oregon, then you are likely entitled to compensation for your losses. The vast majority of car accident claims are resolved through settlements with insurance carriers, but that is not always the case. Sometimes, an injury victim must file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party and their insurance carrier in order to recover the compensation they deserve. There are times when lawsuits lead to mediation in an attempt to reach a settlement before a trial occurs. Here, we want to discuss the main facts that you need to know about mediation for a car accident case in Oregon.

What is mediation in a car accident case?

Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution that is regularly used in personal injury claims in Oregon. In some cases, a judge may actually order mediation between a plaintiff and a defendant. In other cases, both sides may voluntarily decide to use mediation in an attempt to reach a resolution before the case goes to a jury.

When mediation has been ordered or agreed upon, both the plaintiff and the defendant will settle on a neutral third-party mediator who will be brought in to help broker a settlement between the parties.

What can you expect to happen during a car accident mediation in Oregon?

As we mentioned, mediators will be neutral third parties that will not have a bias towards one side or the other. You can expect that a mediator will have extensive experience handling these claims. Often, Oregon car accident mediators are qualified attorneys or even retired judges. Mediations are designed to be non-adversarial, and this is not a courtroom process.

When a mediation starts, all parties will meet at a neutral location. At the beginning of a mediation, the mediator will typically introduce every party present so that everybody in the room knows who is there. Both the plaintiff and the defendant will have a chance to present opening arguments, and the mediator may make some initial inquiries about the case.

Both sides will then go to separate rooms, and the mediator will meet with each party individually to discuss their case as well as any settlement demands or offers. The mediator will then go back and forth between the two parties seeking to gain a thorough understanding of the facts of the case. A mediator will use their understanding of the law as well as all of the evidence they gather from the plaintiff and the defendant to analyze the situation.

The mediator will ask questions to both sides, relay relevant information, and make informed recommendations to both the defendant and the plaintiff. Remember, a mediator is not on any party’s side. They will not relate confidential information from one party to the other, but they will use their knowledge of the information from both sides to make recommendations when it comes to settlements.

A mediator will be able to weigh the strengths and weaknesses of the plaintiff and the defendant’s cases and let them know that it may be in their best interest to either accept a settlement (the plaintiff) or make a settlement offer (the defendant).

The ultimate goal of mediation in a car accident case in Oregon is to reach a settlement without taking the case to trial. Personal injury trials can become complex, and they are costly. If the mediation is successful, then the plaintiff in the case will receive the compensation they need in a more timely manner, and the defendant will avoid any uncertainty that they could face in a trial.