Mediation in Virginia Can Offer Benefits That Trial Doesn’t Afford
By Mike Snellings, Virginia Beach Injury Lawyer
I’m sometimes surprised that mediation is not more widely used throughout the personal injury field. Mediation is a way to resolve disputes that most people who have been injured in motor vehicle accidents do not truly understand and appreciate. At this point in my career, I feel fortunate that I have been able to participate and see all the great benefits of mediation. It brings together parties that are willing to work to find an agreeable settlement, sits them down, and lets them discuss the issues on which they disagree.
Unlike some other states, mediation is not mandatory in Virginia – it is wholly voluntary. Here are some benefits of mediation that you cannot achieve by electing to go to trial:
Less Risk / More Control
If you opt to go to trial, you roll the dice and run the risk of the jury awarding you something that you believe does not fully and fairly compensate you for your injuries. You are essentially leaving the result of your case in the hands of seven complete strangers when you embark on a jury trial. Mediation allows the parties to maintain control of the negotiations and, ultimately, the result of their case. If they are presented with an offer they do not think is fair, they do not have to accept.
Litigation is an extremely expensive endeavor. Expert witnesses typically charge very high fees to testify in a particular case. If your case is complex and would require numerous experts across numerous fields, the bill can become steep. Mediation offers the parties a chance to reach a settlement on a more affordable
Privacy / confidentiality
A benefit that is often overlooked when thinking about mediation is the privacy factor. If a case is successfully mediated, the parties can agree that the terms of the settlement are kept confidential. This is particularly important to plaintiffs – they may not want everyone in the community knowing that they were just awarded a significant sum of money.
The choice to mediate is solely up to the parties in a case. Similarly, the choice to accept or deny an offer belongs to the parties. If a party is unhappy with the best and final offer, there is nothing that says they must accept that offer. In their back pocket always resides “Option B”: trial.
Hiring a team of personal injury attorneys experienced in both mediation and trial is crucial to getting the maximum recovery for your injuries. If you have been injured in a car, truck, or motorcycle accident or at a business, please call us at 757-455-0077. Our team would be happy to meet with you for a free, no obligation consultation.