A personal injury claim can take a couple of years to move through the court system. However, more and more personal injury lawyers are taking advantage of a new legal strategy that helps to resolve injury claims in a fraction of the usual time. Settlement conferences, which use mediation, are similar to arbitration in bringing the claim before a neutral third party with experience in this area of law. The mediator will work with both sides to try and resolve the case so that it doesn't have to go to trial.
How it works.
Following the discovery phase of litigation when personal injury attorneys work to learn all they can about lawsuit-related factors, a pretrial is scheduled and the judge may recommend a settlement conference to try and resolve the issues in an expedient and fair manner. A date will be set when opposing lawyers and their respective clients will meet in an informal proceeding to summarize their findings and look for common ground on which to settle the case. Typically, the plaintiff will ask a certain amount for damages, and the defendant will counter with a lower offer. Both sides will go back and forth with the help of the mediator to try and agree on settlement terms. The process can take anywhere from a few hours to all day. One or both parties may only go through the motions rather than seriously try to settle as a way of learning more about the opposing side so they can prepare adequately for trial. Some experts claim that anywhere from two-thirds to ninety-seven percent of claims that go through a settlement conference are successfully resolved.
There are several advantages to this approach. One is that it is faster waiting for a trial, with a date set for the conference within a few months of discovery. Another benefit is that it is cheaper than going to trial, since no witnesses and perhaps limited exhibits are included in the proceeding. A third positive outcome is that everyone's stress level is reduced, and the claim can end in a satisfactory way for both parties.
If both parties and their personal injury lawyers Toronto are not committed to the settlement conference option, it has little chance of success. One side may go through the motions just to please the judge, with no intention of adjusting compensation demands or offers in negotiation. Another downside is that neither party will likely get what he or she really wants, so both must be willing to negotiate and surrender part of their expectations.
Settlement conferences are being increasingly used in the court system. Understanding how they work and being prepared can optimize chances for a good outcome. Speak to an experienced lawyer like www.claimaccident.ca to discuss the possible strategy of your case.