A serious personal injury case can really take its toll on a victim and their family. Anyone who’s been in this position knows full well: the physical and emotional pain, the financial pressures of paying for medical costs, and the anxiety of a stressful legal battle all add up to a calamitous combination. It can, at times, seem like things are spiralling out of control.
In a busy judicial jurisdiction like Toronto and the surrounding regions, trial can be years away — and extremely costly. That kind of building anxiety can be terribly harmful for the kind of positive mindset needed for recovery of a serious injury.
What if there was a way to regain control — to alleviate a lot of that stress — both financial and emotional? Mediation can have tremendous benefits in a personal injury case, addressing many of these issues.
What is Mediation?
Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution in which a neutral third party, the mediator, facilitates negotiations between the parties involved. The mediator will assist the two sides in trying to find common ground that can lead to an agreeable settlement. The process is non-binding, and the mediator has no power to make any decision. But by getting the parties to engage with each other, and directly address each’s concerns, the chances of resolving the dispute amongst themselves can increase greatly.
In Toronto and some other Ontario jurisdictions, mediation is a mandatory step before the Court will provide a trial date.
There are significant benefits to the mediation process, including:
- Encourages sharing of information; establishes communication between the parties
- Allows for certainty: The parties involved maintain total control of the ultimate outcome, eliminating the uncertainty of a judge or jury
- Brings finality to a legal dispute in a much more timely manner
- Reduces costs greatly
Even leaving money out of the equation, let’s compare the costs to the parties of settling in mediation versus going to court:
|Time to Conduct:||Often completed in a single day||Two weeks or more|
|Emotional Cost:||Low-stress||Very high-stress|
A skillful mediator will help the parties listen to each other, and communicate respectfully. They can also help guide the parties to recognizing common ground, which can be difficult to see when coming at an issue from one side. And finally, they can help craft reasonable acceptable settlement terms that each party can agree to.
In the end, it all comes down to control: If you want to control your costs, control your stress, and have the ultimate say in controlling the outcome, then mediation is an ideal dispute resolution method for your personal injury case.