Car accidents are a common occurrence, and when you have been involved in one, there might be a lot of legal things going on. There is a large number of legal things to take care of after a car accident in California, and it can be very difficult to successfully navigate this process.
This article is about how you can hire the best accident mediator for your auto accident case in California and how mediation can save you both time and money and prevent further disagreements charged at you by the insurance companies.
What Is a Car Accident Mediator?
A car accident mediator (also known as a car accident claims mediator) is an impartial or neutral third party in the midst of a car accident dispute resolution process, who can help end the disputes related to car accidents and injuries.
It is highly recommended that you explore mediation if:
- your injury claim has not yet been resolved;
- your injuries may take years of treatment;
- you think protracted litigation will hurt your financial interests.
The mediation process consists of meetings between the disputing parties, with a mediator serving as an impartial third party who does not have the authority to impose a result to the dispute. When parties are in mediation, they discuss the case issues in hopes of coming up with solutions that work for both sides.
In a number of states, mediation can be a valuable tool in the caseload. Especially in cases involving accidents. Every state is different when it comes to laws, and while some state laws encourage parties to settle their disputes early on with the help, other states discourage it. But California is one of the many states who have a mandatory binding arbitration law for car accident cases. Thus, throughout the state, parties must meet with an experienced and qualified accident mediator before they can move to trial.
In California, if you have been involved in a car accident for between 1 and 10 people killed, one can expect at least 150 days from the date of the incident before a case goes to trial. In many jurisdictions, cases go to trial six months from the date of the accident. Even then, only 8 percent of those cases settle prior to a settlement, before a trial or a judgment. While no attorney can guarantee a certain amount of days until trial or case resolution, you can hire an experienced car accident lawyer who has done this time and time again.
How much does accident mediation cost in California and who pays?
Car accident mediators typically charge a flat fee for their services, depending on how many parties are involved. A car accident mediator’s services are usually paid for by the parties involved, not by insurance companies. Mediators usually charge a percentage (usually 10%) of whatever sum they resolve the dispute for. For example, if the mediator successfully settles the case for $5,000, the mediator gets $500.
What is the process?
A car accident mediator typically begins by interviewing each party separately. The mediator then gives each the opportunity to present his or her side, and to ask questions. The mediator may then bring up issues or details that have not been discussed, in an effort to facilitate settlement. Mediators are not allowed to force the parties to settle, but if they do come to an agreement, the mediator will draft a written settlement agreement, which can be presented to the court, if necessary. If the parties cannot reach an agreement or decide to continue fighting, the mediator may offer suggestions on how the dispute may be resolved.
Mediation is voluntary, and either party can withdraw at any time. However, once either of the parties have withdrawn, the mediator cannot continue mediating the dispute, and the mediator’s fee will be forfeited.
Car accident mediators are knowledgeable about car accident laws and know how to obtain the best possible car accident settlement for you. A car accident mediator is trained to listen to both sides of the dispute, provide both parties with information, and help both parties come to a fair agreement. Car accident mediators can also educate all parties on car accident laws.
In most cases, California courts require that parties engage in mediation before filing a lawsuit.
A good meditator will know the right strategies to get you the best possible compensation for your damages. A mediator’s job is to facilitate negotiations between the parties, with the goal of reaching a settlement that both parties are willing to accept.