Q: Mediation has been recommended for a lawsuit I am currently involved it. What is mediation and what should I expect
during the process?
A: Mediation is an informal process in which the mediator, an impartial person, works with the parties to resolve a lawsuit in a way that satisfies both parties.
The court orders all parties in the case to attend the mediation. Insurance company representatives, if any, may also attend, along with any other party necessary to settle the case. You or the other party also may invite individuals who are necessary to settle the case.
If you are represented by an attorney, then your attorney will participate in the mediation. The other party may also be represented by an attorney.
The mediator will facilitate the discussions between the parties. At times these discussions will include everyone in the same room. At other times, the mediator will speak with each party separately. The mediator also may speak with just the attorneys, without their clients present. The mediator will also make sure parties provide all documents, forms or other materials needed to reach an agreement.
The mediator will not give advice or opinions about a case or the merits of the opposing side. The goal of mediation is to allow the parties to decide the outcome of the case instead of the judge or a jury.
You are not required to settle your case, but you should come to the mediation willing to discuss settlement possibilities. Your case will remain on the court’s schedule as it had been before mediation. If you do not settle your case, then the case will move forward. The mediator will not discuss your case with anyone, including the judge, except to state that you met and whether an agreement was reached.