Mediation usually consists of each side of the lawsuit sitting down with a person who has no particular interest in the outcome of the case (the mediator) and trying to resolve their dispute. The mediator may be a judge or a private citizen. In Tennessee personal injury and wrongful death cases the mediator is a judge (not the judge that will hear the case) or a lawyer with special mediation training.
Mediation can be ordered by the court or it can be agreed to by the parties to the case.
A case does not have to be settled at mediation and the mediator is not empowered to force a settlement. Nor does the mediator decide the case. The mediator simply facilitates a resolution of the case by communicating about the strengths and weaknesses of the case.
A non-judge mediator is paid for his or her services. Typically, each party pays a fair share of the mediation cost. If there are three parties in the case the costs is divided by three. It is not uncommon for there to be an agreement reached on how the mediation expenses will be handled before the mediation and for that agreement to be re-negotiated as the parties get closer to an ultimate settlement of the case.
Mediation was not a part of the law practice in Middle Tennessee when I started practicing law here 31 years ago. Today, many lawsuits that are filed go through the mediation process. And, in my experience, at least 80 percent of cases in which a lawsuit is filed are settled at mediation or are settled in the weeks following a mediation.
Mediation works the best if you have an experienced injury lawyer prepare your case for trial and does not prepare it for mediation. By that I mean that lawyers who prepare a case to settle frequently receive lower settlements than lawyers who prepare a case for trial.
Thus, even if you would just as soon avoid a trial and settle your case by mediation or other settlement methods, you will be best served to hire an experienced lawyer to investigate, evaluate and prepare your case. Read our Legal Guide titled "Understanding How to Hire a Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Attorney" to understand what you should be looking for in a lawyer in your case.
John Day represents people who have been injured or lost a loved one due to the negligence of another person or company. John has been listed in Best Lawyers for 20 years, and has the highest legal rating a lawyer can earn by the legal rating service Martindale and AVVO. An author of two books on law and over 50 articles for legal publications, John has given approximately 300 speeches to lawyers in over 15 states on personal injury, wrongful death, and related subjects. He represents people across Tennessee in personal injury, wrongful death, medical malpractice, products liability and other civil cases. To read what his clients have said about him and his law firm, click here.
You can reach John by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 615.742-4880. The toll-free number is 866-812-8787.