Ottawa Injury Lawyers – The increased use of mediation to resolve personal injury claims.
Prior to the amendments of the Rules of Civil Procedure which now mandates that most civil actions proceed to mediation, most experienced lawyers recommended alternate dispute resolution processes and most often mediation to their clients as a means to settle personal injury claims.
The injury and accident lawyers at our Ottawa personal injury law firm always recommend alternate dispute resolution mechanisms to settle personal injury claims. Our support for settlement negotiations begins with the first contact with the insurance company or lawyer involved.
There is great wisdom in exploring settlement as early as the case demands since litigation is a very stressful, expensive and lengthy process. Litigation also provides less opportunity for the parties to participate directly in the process.
Systemically, parties involved in personal injury claims have the opportunity to resolve the claims through their Ottawa injury lawyers prior to litigation through the use of negotiations and out-of-court mediation. Once a court action is commenced, the parties have two main opportunities to resolve the claims with the assistance of their Ottawa accident lawyers, one is the mandatory mediation process and the second is the mandatory pre-trial process.
Mediation is a critical component of any court action, including personal injury actions, since it mandates the parties to attend mediation but once the parties attend participation is voluntary. The practical meaning of this is that there is an opportunity for the parties to take a break from litigation, take a serious look at their positions and interests and consider good faith settlement of all the issues.
At our Ottawa personal injury law firm, the vast majority of personal injury cases are settled prior to litigation and when litigation is required, many settle at the mediation or pretrial stage. For mediation to be successful, many things need to occur. Firstly, the case must be ready for mediation. For instance, the exchange of relevant documentation should be made well in advance of any mediation. If necessary, examinations for discovery should be completed and any answers to undertakings provided in advance of mediation. 
Secondly, the parties should be prepared for mediation and be briefed by their lawyers on the process of mediation and what to reasonably expect at mediation. As part of preparing the client, the personal injury lawyer should explain the entire process of mediation within the context of the litigation. This explanation should be as detailed as possible and include the usual and ordinary steps mediation such as signing of the mediation agreement, introduction by the mediator, presentation of views and interests of each of the parties, caucusing, negotiation and brainstorming and finally, reaching settlement and signing minutes a settlement at mediation. It is important to mention to clients that mediation, although scheduled for three hours, may extend well beyond three hours and that the parties will need to be patient. The client should be informed of the various pitfalls or hurdles that typically occur during a mediation session. The client should be provided with a copy of all the relevant documentation in advance of mediation, including statements of issues exchanged between the parties. Most importantly, the client should be well informed of their role at mediation and the role of the lawyer so that mistakes can be avoided and expectations can be met.
With a well-prepared case, well-prepared lawyer and well-prepared client, mediations often prove successful to resolve personal injury cases. At Quinn Thiele Mineault Grodzki LLP, Ottawa personal injury lawyers, we encourage the use of all alternate dispute resolution techniques and most often mediation as a means to resolve personal injury claims.
The lawyers at our Ottawa law firm provide free consultations and work on a contingency basis, meaning that our lawyers do not charge a fee unless the case is settled or won at trial.
Contact us today for a free consultation at 613-563-1131.
Ottawa accident and personal injury lawyers
310 O’Connor Street
Ottawa, Ontario K2P 1L5
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