What is Mandatory Mediation in an Ontario Personal Injury Case?

OTTAWA PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER – If you have a personal injury law suit in Ottawa or in some other Ontario jurisdictions, you will be required to participate in mediation before the court will give you a trial date.

Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution.  It is a way for  the people involved in the lawsuit to settle outside of court.  A neutral third party – the mediator – helps the disputing parties look for a solution that works for them.   Mediators, unlike judges, do not “decide” your personal injury case case.  The mediator’s job is to help the the injured person (with his or her personal injury lawyer) to negotiate with the insurance company and its lawyer in a constructive manner, to gain a better understanding of the interests of all parties, and to find a resolution based on common understanding and mutual agreement. The purpose of mediation is not to determine who wins and who loses, but to develop creative solutions to disputes in a way that is not possible at a trial.

The personal injury mediation process is informal and completely confidential. Parties in mediation may speak more openly than in court. Many people find mediation a more comfortable and constructive process than a trial. Under the court-connected mediation process the parties are require to select the mediator and then to provide that mediator with a brief outlining the case and the issues.

Usually personal injury mediations proceed with the mediator making some opening remarks about the purpose and goal of mediation.  This is followed by both lawyers making opening statements.

The clients are required to attend the mediation, but are not required to speak.  They are usually asked if there is anything they want to add.  However, it is quite common for the clients not to speak in the open session.   Having said that, we have had some very effective mediations where the injured client has chosen to speak.

After the opening statements, the parties usually retire to separate rooms where they exchange offers back and forth with the help and guidance of the mediator.  It is often very surprising how much progress can be made over the course of a few hours.

Sometimes, the lawyers will speak directly without the clients and with or without the mediator.  This can often assist with breaking negotiation log-jams.

Personal injury clients in a car accident case are often surprised to learn that the at-fault driver is not at the mediation.  Sometimes they are relieved that the at fault driver is not there!  It is virtually always a representative of the insurance company who attends as the defence counsel’s client.  This is the person who attends because this is the person who will decide about how much, if anything will be paid.  The insurance company writes the cheque, not the at fault driver.

Ontario personal injury cases do not always settle at mediation, though more straightforward cases often do.  However, even if a case does not settle, the initial discussions at mediation in most cases lay the groundwork for further discussions later on.

Have you been involved in an Ottawa accident and are looking to settle your injury claim? Speak with a top personal injury lawyer who can help you get the best possible settlement in your injury case. For more information, contact the Ottawa injury lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth by email [email protected] or by phone at (613) 860-4529.

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