Mediation in New Jersey Personal Injury

What is it?

Mediation happens in New Jersey personal injury cases when the parties sit down with a retired judge or another lawyer who is not involved in the lawsuit to attempt to settle the case.

Mediation is not required in personal injury cases and can be useful to bring the parties to a settlement of closer to a settlement. Before mediation, the parties decide that the case might be settled with the help of a third party who has experience in handling cases like your lawsuit.

The cases that go to mediation usually involve cases where the defendant’s fault can be proven, the injuries are significant and the defendant has a large insurance policy.

Who is the Mediator?

The most difficult problem with mediation is for the parties to agree on a mediator who they are comfortable with.

The mostly commonly used mediators in New Jersey personal injury cases are retired judges. Because retired judges are the most commonly used mediators, you will often have to wait a few months before getting a mediation date.

How does Mediation work?

Every mediator has his or her own style.

Usually, the mediator will want each party to send a confidential written presentation a few days before the mediation so that the mediator can understand the case and the position of each party.

On the day of the mediation, most mediators will have everybody meet at the beginning of the mediation and then separate each party by putting them in different rooms.

When each party is in separate rooms, the mediator will go to each party and get an understanding of their settlement positions.

Next, the mediator will negotiate to see if he/she can find a middle ground for the parties.

If the mediation is being done by zoom, the mediator will usually follow the same steps.

If the parties are too far apart, the mediator will explain that the case cannot be resolved. The mediator might suggest that the parties re-evaluate the case and come back for another mediation.

If the parties come to an agreement, the mediator will have the parties agree in writing that the case is settled and that they will exchange more formal documents later to formalize the settlement.

Do New Jersey Personal Injury Cases Settle at Mediation?

Do New Jersey Personal Injury Cases Settle at Mediation?

Yes and No.

Mediation in New Jersey Personal Injury

Can I Walk Away from Mediation?

Yes. If you are not happy with the other party’s position during mediation, you can end it and walk away. If you are not happy with the mediator, you can end it and walk away.

It means that your lawsuit will continue.

What is the Best Time for Mediation?

Most mediations are held after discovery and before trial. They are more likely to be successful at that stage.

Mediations held earlier in the litigation are less successful because the parties do not always have medical reports from experts or you might have more medical treatment scheduled that impacts the value of your lawsuit.

You should know that mediations operate outside the Court’s schedule. Therefore, a New Jersey Court might not adjourn your trial date simply because you have a mediation scheduled.

Who Pays the Mediator?

The parties usually split the cost of the mediator.

Will I Speak with the Mediator?

You should be prepared to answer questions from the mediator. Often, the mediator will want to get a sense of how you will do in a courtroom setting. However, the questioning will be informal and the mediator’s questions will be straight forward. Your attorney will be with you during any questions from the mediator.

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