When is the Right Time to Use Legal Mediation Services?

Mediation law is a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) that (hopefully) takes the place of going to court. In mediation, both parties to a lawsuit meet together with a neutral third-party, otherwise known as a mediator. This individual listens to both parties, reviews the facts of the case and helps each party understand the other’s view of the facts. Not all mediation sessions are successful, but many are.

There are some misconceptions about legal mediation services. For example, people sometimes believe that a mediator makes the decision for the parties. Instead, the mediator is a facilitator that helps both parties reach a fair agreement on their own. If the process is successful, this eliminates the need for a long and costly litigation.

The best time to use legal mediation is:

Early On

There is no reason to wait to use mediation services. In fact, the sooner, the better. Sometimes, all two parties in a lawsuit need is to sit down in a neutral setting and hear each other out. This is why it’s best to seek mediation as early in the process as possible. You can even use the process prior to filing a lawsuit.

When there’s a Chance of Reaching an Agreement

Most cases can be mediated, but the best ones are those that have potential for reaching a fair agreement. Remember, the mediator isn’t the one to do this, so you and the other person must have some willingness to work together. If you know that you can absolutely certain that you and the other party cannot agree on anything, then it’s probably best to go to court.

When You Have One of these Cases…

Some cases are more likely to reach a settlement outside the courtroom. Others are not. For example, cases that are not appropriate for mediation are DUIs, criminal charges, bankruptcy, immigration matters, disability appeals and more. On the other hand, if you have one of the following cases, legal mediation services are a smart alternative to litigation:

  • Contract disputes
  • Family law matters
  • Wrongful termination/ employment claims
  • Injury and tort cases

When You Want to Avoid Court

Threatening to sue someone (or being sued yourself) may seem to be the best option at first, but many people are not prepared to spend tens of thousands of dollars in court. If you and the other party want to avoid a costly litigation process, mediation is best option. Even though there’s a chance that you may not reach an agreement, it’s worth a few hundred dollars to try. Otherwise, you could be looking at court costs of $100,000 or more.

Mediation is not right for every case, but it is for some. If you have questions about a case that you want mediated, call Susan Pinkston today.

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