What Happens After Mediation?
Mediation can be a valuable part of a personal injury lawsuit. It allows a neutral space where opposing parties can negotiate a settlement to resolve the case. You can breathe a massive sigh of relief if you reach an agreement during mediation. However, you’re not finished with your case. Multiple things must happen before you receive a settlement check.
What Happens After Mediation Settlement?
Knowing you can finally put this traumatic experience behind you is exciting. However, settling your case during mediation doesn’t mean you walk away with a check in your hand. There’s a process to complete first.
You can’t collect your compensation and close out your case until you address various issues, such as paying your medical bills and legal fees. Your personal injury attorney can help with this complicated process, so you don’t have to face it alone.
The steps you must follow when you reach a settlement during mediation include:
- Sign the mediation agreement – Once you and the opposing party agree to the settlement terms, the mediator will draft a contract you and the opposing party must sign. You should review everything before signing to ensure the contents are correct and you understand what the terms mean.
- Pay the mediator – The mediator charges for the work they do. Fees vary depending on the circumstances. However, mediators often charge by the hour. You and the defendant split the fees down the middle. If your attorney works on a contingency fee, they will pay the mediator on your behalf, and the mediator’s fee will come out of your settlement.
- Sign the release – A release is an agreement with the insurance company not to pursue additional legal action against the defendant for the accident. You also acknowledge accepting the settlement amount.
- Wait for the check – The insurance company will review the release you signed and confirm all tasks have been completed. Typically, you don’t receive a check directly from the insurer. They send it to your personal injury lawyer.
- Pay outstanding balances – Once your lawyer receives the settlement check, they will deposit it in their firm’s account. They will determine whether you owe money to your medical providers and attempt to negotiate lower balances before paying those bills. They will also take part of your check to cover their legal fees and costs.
- Disburse funds – Your attorney will write a check to you after settling your case-related debts.
- File the agreement – Your attorney can file the settlement agreement with the court for the judge to review. Once the judge signs off, your attorney will file a request to dismiss the case. The judge will issue a dismissal order, and the case is over.
How Long After Mediation Settlement Will I Get My Money?
Various circumstances can affect the process between mediation settlement and receiving your check. It takes around six weeks on average. However, the duration can be longer or shorter depending on factors like the size of the claim and the insurance adjuster’s workload.
The most common factors that affect how long it takes to receive your money include:
- Negotiating medical bills – Your personal injury attorney must pay outstanding medical bills before printing your final check. You might not have to pay the total amount you owe if your lawyer can negotiate a lower balance. However, dealing with medical providers can take time.
- Claim size – If your settlement is large, it could take longer to receive your check. The insurance company must complete multiple steps to confirm the amount before sending the check. Depending on the procedures, numerous claims department members might have to sign off on the settlement.
- Pay case-related expenses – Your lawyer must also use your settlement proceeds to pay case-related expenses if they work on contingency. They will review the fees and costs you owe them to confirm the balance before subtracting it from your compensation.
- Insurance company size – Some insurance companies have hundreds of employees processing claims. Receiving your settlement might not take that long if the adjuster doesn’t have a significant workload and uses a more streamlined process to verify the amount and mail the check. Typically, smaller insurers don’t have the workforce to handle claims efficiently. That can increase the time it takes to receive your money.
What Happens if Mediation Fails?
Multiple options are available if you don’t settle your personal injury lawsuit during mediation. The next steps will depend on the circumstances of your case and what your lawyer believes could benefit you the most.
Possible options after a failed mediation include:
- Schedule another mediation – You’re not limited to one mediation during a lawsuit. You can attend multiple sessions if necessary. Sometimes, both parties want to settle the case but hit a roadblock while negotiating the terms of an agreement. Instead of continuing the discussion during the first mediation, taking a break and scheduling a second one can help. It gives each side time to think about what they want and whether they can compromise on the terms.
- Prepare for trial – Another option if mediation fails is going to trial. Your attorney will start preparing for the upcoming trial by continuing to gather evidence, locating witnesses to testify, and preparing their arguments.
- Continue negotiations – You can resolve your case while preparing for trial, even if mediation isn’t successful. Settling your claim is allowed any time before the jury or judge decides on the case. You or the opposing party can change your mind about the arrangements discussed during mediation. One of you might decide you would rather avoid trial and agree to the proposed settlement. Or you can suggest a different amount of money or terms mutually beneficial to both sides.
Contact a Dedicated Personal Injury Lawyer Now
Although mediation can be helpful, reaching a settlement isn’t guaranteed. Anything can happen when you and your lawyer meet with the other party to discuss the case.
You shouldn’t participate in mediation or pursue a lawsuit without hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer from Loewy Law Firm. We have represented injured clients in Texas since 2005. You can count on us to fight for you.
If you were injured in an accident due to someone else’s negligence, call Loewy Law Firm at (512) 957-9858 for a free consultation. Let us help you seek the compensation you deserve.