Typically, you may pursue car accident mediation to settle your claim. However, you may encounter several circumstances that may hinder you from getting the total compensation, such as when the insurance provider refutes your claim or offers a lowball settlement.
You must know what to expect in mediation to handle such instances correctly and win your case.
What Should I Expect In Car Accident Mediation?
Generally, mediation is an informal method of resolving a car accident case where two parties present their sides of the story, and a neutral third-party, acting as the mediator, assists in the settlement negotiations. In most cases, injury lawyers try to settle the claim through mediation.
However, a car accident case may proceed to trial if both parties don’t negotiate a fair settlement in mediation. To avoid moving your case to litigation, you must know what to expect in mediation.
The Insurer Will Refute Your Claim
The other driver’s insurance provider will always try to refute your claim to avoid compensation. Common reasons why insurance companies deny accident claims are the following:
- The cost of the accident exceeds the other driver’s policy limit.
- You have inconsistent medical treatment for the injuries caused by the accident.
- The at-fault party’s insurance has lapsed.
- You have limited evidence to support your claim.
When defending your claim in a car accident mediation, you need sufficient evidence to support your claim and maintain good health treatment without lapses. Insurance companies can and will use the gaps in medical treatments to deny your injuries.
Aside from that, you should also know the other driver’s policy limit to avoid exceeding it. Remember that you can only claim compensation from the policy limit of the driver at-fault.
Car Accident Mediation Process Takes Time
Usually, mediation for car accident settlements can be resolved in a few hours or days. However, the duration may vary depending on the nature of the case. After mediation, you may receive the compensation two to three weeks after the resolution. You may deal with the accident claim for a longer time if it proceeds to trial.
In the car accident mediation process, you shall accomplish these tasks:
- The two parties usually meet in a place with the mediator.
- They will be allowed to present their evidence and facts about the car accident claim.
- The mediator will examine and determine the advantages and disadvantages of both sides.
- Both parties shall come up with a fair settlement according to the facts presented.
When pursuing a car accident claim, you must be ready with all necessary documents and tasks to ensure a smooth mediation process, such as:
- Photos or videos of the accident scene;
- Medical bills and records of injuries caused by the accident;
- Policy limit of the other party; and
- Demand letter that you used to notify the insurance provider.
The Insurer Will Offer Low Settlement Offer
Usually, the other driver’s insurance provider will find ways to offer you a low settlement. While this may cover your current expenses, it is better to always negotiate after the initial offer.
This is especially important if you have late-appearing injuries from the accident. If you take the first offer, you may not think about the costs of injuries that didn’t show up right away after the accident.
In case the other driver’s negligence resulted in damages to your vehicle, you must determine the value of your vehicle before asking for compensation. You can do this by:
- Determining how the insurance company estimated the value of your car.
- Getting an estimate from a mechanic you trust.
- Contacting at least 2 to three mechanics to compare the calculated values.
You must know the details and facts of your case to negotiate successfully. You can reach out to an accident attorney to help you seek the necessary evidence to support your claim and deal with a car accident mediation on your behalf.
The Mediator Will Not Always Side With You
A mediator should be impartial and neutral when dealing with mediation for car accident settlements. They should always weigh both sides of the story to come up with fair compensation.
However, the mediator may only agree if the facts go your way. You may want to follow these steps to identify if the outcome will be favorable for you:
Know the mediator’s opinion.
Usually, you are given private conversations with the mediator. Use this to your advantage and know the other party’s intentions. For instance, you may mention the settlement offer you want to your mediator. They may state that the offer is too high for the other party. By then, you will know how much they are willing to negotiate.
Share your ideas with the mediator.
Sometimes, you and the negotiator of the other driver may be biased, which may escalate into a dispute. When this happens, your mediator can help you determine if your ideas are advantageous or disadvantageous to your side. They may even propose a resolution on which both parties can agree.
Understand the opposing party’s facts.
Most often than not, victims tend to be overwhelmed by the effects of the accident. This hinders them from understanding the other driver’s side. Ask your mediator about his views of the case or how they will resolve the claim based on the facts presented.
Remember that a mediator will not always side with you. However, you may use their knowledge and opinions to make the outcome favorable.
You Will Need To Compromise
In every car accident mediation, both parties are given a chance to explain their side. If you are partially at fault, you should still be entitled to receive compensation. However, the settlement value may be reduced and calculated based on how much the other driver was responsible for the crash. For example, if you are 30% at fault for the accident, you may claim 70% restitution. If you are 50% at fault, the mediator will most likely dismiss your case.
Furthermore, you will need to compromise, especially if your expenses from the car crash exceed the other driver’s policy limit. Make sure that you are aware of the at-fault party’s insurance coverage. Adjust the value of your settlement to fit their insurance policy.
How Does A Lawyer Help in the Car Accident Mediation Process?
Car accident cases may resolve through mediation or may move forward to litigation. Regardless of the outcome, you may need a lawyer to guide you and help you win your case. A lawyer can assist you in the mediation process by doing the following:
- Understand and examine the facts of your case.
- Gather information and evidence to support your claim.
- Avoid mistakes in handling your case.
- Communicate with other driver’s insurance providers.
- Negotiate a settlement.
- Defend your case.
The Law Offices of Larry H Parker has competent attorneys with decades of car accident mediation experience. If your claim needs to proceed to a trial, they have the knowledge and a winning record of car accident trials. Contact us at 866-311-2457 or schedule a free legal consultation to know which option fits your case.