Posted on Saturday, April 15th, 2023 at 7:44 am
If you are facing mediation of your personal injury lawsuit, or if mediation has already resolved your case, you might wonder what happens after a mediation settlement. Although mediation resolves a case, attorneys must finalize the settlement agreement before a plaintiff can receive their money. If an insurance company is paying all or part of the settlement, a check could take some time to be processed. While it can take time, settling your case at mediation is often less expensive than going to trial. Here’s what you should know about the mediation process, what happens after mediation, and the factors that affect how soon you receive the settlement funds.
What Is Mediation?
Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution that occurs in a personal injury lawsuit in an attempt to settle a case outside of court. Mediation can happen at various stages in a case. However, lawyers typically schedule mediation after both parties have exchanged written discovery responses and perhaps taken depositions. Although the parties may agree to mediate the case before proceeding to trial, courts in many jurisdictions order mediation before even setting a trial date.
A third-party neutral legal professional, usually a practicing attorney certified as a mediator or a retired judge, will serve as your mediator. The mediator does not make a final decision but will help each party evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of their respective positions as they attempt to settle the case. The mediator will go back and forth between the parties and their counsel with settlement demands and offers to try to reach some middle ground. Mediators encourage parties to settle at mediation when they control what money they will receive rather than leaving that determination to the judge or jury at trial.
What Happens If My Case Settles At Mediation?
Mediation usually begins with both parties rooted in their legal positions and far apart with their “bottom line” settlement figures in mind. However, a mediator is often successful in helping the parties work toward a resolution. If you agree to a settlement offer, the litigation ends, and you forego your opportunity to take your case to trial.
Once the parties settle the case, the mediator will draft a brief settlement agreement memorializing the settlement terms. Although the attorneys will prepare a more formal settlement and release agreement after mediation, the settlement agreement is binding. A court can enforce it, and the parties may not renege on their deal. Failure to follow through with a settlement agreement could result in sanctions. If the opposing party seeks court intervention, you may need to pay the other party’s attorney’s fees.
The settlement agreement and release prepared by the attorneys after the mediation will include a brief outline of the case facts and specifically itemize the amount of money you will receive for your personal injury claim, including who will pay the settlement money and when it must be paid. The settlement agreement and release will also include a release of liability, which prevents a plaintiff from bringing any further claims against a defendant and their insurer related to the accident or incident that led to the lawsuit. Once both parties sign the settlement agreement and release and you receive the settlement funds, the attorneys will stipulate the dismissal of the case. The judge will then issue an order of dismissal that signifies the end of your case.
Read more: When is Mediation NOT a Good Idea?
How Long After Mediation Will I Receive My Money?
The time it takes to receive your money can vary depending on specific factors. It may vary from a few weeks to a few months. It depends on the settlement agreement terms and an insurance company’s policies and procedures. If the settlement agreement requires court approval, receiving your money may take even longer.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer Today
If you were injured in an accident due to someone else’s negligence, an attorney can help you pursue compensation. Your lawyer will investigate your case, analyze fault, assess injuries and damages, and demand money from the insurance company. If the insurance is unreasonable and unwilling to settle your case, we will take your case to court. Call an experienced personal injury lawyer from Jonathan R. Brockman, P.C. at (770) 205-8827 for a free consultation today.