To be fair, many personal injury victims and their families were not given much of a choice these past 18 months (closing in on two years, as a matter of fact). Everyone had a learning curve in the first few months of the pandemic—some steeper than others—but most attorneys, judges, and court personnel would agree that some court hearings can be easily conducted virtually.
Mediations, at least in the personal injury space, have worked quite well over Zoom. Our firm has been pleasantly surprised at the feasibility of getting results from mediation sessions where participants were spread across the country. In fact, our team would not be opposed to continuing virtual mediation sessions after the pandemic is fully under control.
What is Mediation?
Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution for certain civil cases to get resolved. Divorcing spouses who cannot agree on some aspect of the divorce settlement are often ordered to go through mediation. However, mediation definitely has its place in settling personal injury cases.
A neutral third party—the mediator—attempts to guide two opposing parties to a compromise on whatever legal matter is at stake. The mediator usually leads one or multiple sessions to get to a settlement. In a normal mediation, the two parties will be in physically separate rooms. Mediators go between the rooms, asking each party its goals, situation, and deal breakers. You should still have an attorney present, as mediators are not allowed to give legal advice.
The interesting part about Zoom is that participants can start in one big virtual “room” and then break out into separate rooms. That was difficult for some people to get the hang of, but it actually works quite well. Once you figure out the logistics of Zoom or whichever hosting platform you’re using, the benefits of virtual mediation really come into focus.
For one, geography is no hindrance. You can attend mediation that’s hosted in another state, get represented by your lawyer in yet another state, and go back to work the next day. You might not even have to worry about taking a personal day or finding a babysitter.
Are there downsides to virtual mediation? Sure. Our firm would always prefer to see our clients in-person. It’s more difficult to speak to the other lawyer in private over Zoom. Some conversations in mediation are hard to have, and an in-person touch can help these conversations move along.
Are these drawbacks worth the efficiency gained by going virtual? It’s impossible to say without knowing your goals, values, and overall circumstances related to the case. If we feel that going virtual will damage your case, we will stand firm in demanding in-person mediation.
No matter what direction your case goes in, we will remain by your side. Your rights are important to us. Getting the compensation you deserve is our ultimate goal, and our firm will do everything possible to obtain it.
Call us at (404) 873-3700 today to schedule your free consultation with our caring team.