If you’re a motorist in Maryland, you may benefit from learning more about how the mediation process for auto accidents works. Mediation is a type of alternative dispute resolution used to help settle car accident claims. The parties involved may opt for mediation on their own accord or as the result of a court order. A trained professional known as a mediator attempts to help the two parties, or their insurers, reach an agreement.
Mediation and arbitration are not synonymous. The mediator doesn’t have the power to require anything of either party, but they can make recommendations. Mediation can only be accomplished if both parties reach an agreement. The mediator is there to try to bring the parties together and facilitate a mutual agreement. The insurer cannot be forced into mediation. If a lawsuit is filed, the courts may require mediation. If the insurer doesn’t agree to arbitration, mediation may still be possible.
The mediation process
The mediation process typically begins with discussing preliminary matters. The statements made in mediation are inadmissible in court. This rule encourages the parties to have an open discussion without the fear of their comments having a negative impact in court later on if no settlement is reached. Both parties may be required to sign a mediation agreement outlining the rules guiding the process. In mediation for motor vehicle accidents, the parties discuss who’s at fault and the resulting damages.
After each party has equal time to explain their perspective on the issues, the process may move into an open discussion or the mediator may separate the two parties. Mediators typically separate the parties to speak in private, acting as a shuttle diplomat between the two. Either way, the process will continue back and forth with new proposals and negations until an agreement is reached.