Posted on Tuesday, November 1st, 2022 at 3:29 pm
Mediation is a meeting involving opposing parties in a lawsuit and a mediator. The mediator is a neutral third party who listens to each side’s arguments and facilitates negotiations. They cannot decide on the case or enter judgments. Mediators suggest possible solutions to resolve the legal matter, but it’s ultimately up to the plaintiff and defendant to agree on a settlement. What’s most important to you is how long does mediation take in a lawsuit?
Various factors contribute to the time it takes to go through mediation. Some end within a couple of hours. Others require multiple meetings before settling the case. The most common factors influencing the duration of the mediation process include:
- Whether the plaintiff and defendant’s proposed settlement amounts differ significantly
- The complexity of the claim
- Number of parties involved in the lawsuit
- Whether more than one mediation session is necessary to reach an agreement
- How much each person is willing to compromise to resolve the case
- Availability and scheduling conflicts
What Happens After Mediation?
A successful mediation doesn’t mean the case is over, and you don’t have to do anything else. You must complete multiple steps before the judge dismisses the case, and you can move forward with your life. The steps you must follow after reaching a settlement agreement during mediation include:
- Pay the fee – Mediators charge a fee for their time. You must pay after mediation whether or not it’s successful. You might also have to pay to reserve a room if you meet the opposing party in a public meeting space. Typically, the plaintiff and defendant pay equal shares of the invoice.
- File the agreement – When the mediation is successful, every party involved in negotiations will sign a settlement agreement at the end of the mediation. Your lawyer will file the signed agreement in court for the judge to review and approve.
- Settle financial obligations – You likely have legal fees and case-related expenses you owe your attorney. If they work on contingency, they will take a portion of your settlement check to pay your debts and distribute the remaining funds.
What Happens After Mediation Fails?
You might have several options if mediation fails during your personal injury lawsuit, such as:
- Schedule another mediation – Mediations can be challenging to navigate. It’s all about give and take. Opposing parties must be willing to put their egos aside to reach an arrangement. It might take more than one meeting to settle the case. If the first mediation isn’t successful, you could request to schedule a second one. If the defendant agrees to try again, there’s a chance you could resolve the matter without proceeding to trial.
- Prepare for trial – You might have to prepare for the trial if you and the defendant can’t agree on a settlement during mediation.
- Continue negotiations – You can settle a personal injury case any time before the judge or jury issues a ruling. Negotiating can continue even if mediation fails and the judge sets a trial date. You should consider the potential drawbacks of taking your case to trial and whether you want to take that risk or try to settle before then.
How Long After Mediation Can You Go to Court?
If you try other methods to settle the case and they don’t work, the next step is going to court. You can argue your case before a judge during a trial despite an unsuccessful mediation. You don’t lose your right to continue through the legal process if you attempt to negotiate a settlement before trial.
You’re not allowed to use the conversations or documents from mediation as evidence. Everything that happens during the meeting is confidential. A trial is a chance to continue your case as though mediation didn’t happen.
There isn’t a specific timeframe you must wait to go to court after mediation. After learning of the failed mediation attempt, the judge will set a trial date. Typically, trials don’t begin immediately after unsuccessful settlement negotiations. You and your lawyer should have significant time to prepare for the upcoming court date.
Contact Abel Law Firm Today
Since 1976, the Oklahoma City personal injury lawyers of Abel Law Firm have fought for the rights of injured clients. We believe in providing top-notch representation to individuals harmed by the wrongdoing of others. You will be our priority while we’re handling your case. We will tirelessly work to try to reach a favorable outcome.