The effective use of mediation to settle Ottawa accident and personal injury claims.

Aside from negotiations, mediation has become the number one method to resolve personal injury claims. Almost every jurisdiction in Canada includes mediation as part of the court process in an attempt to resolve disputes without litigation. In Ontario, for most court actions, including accident and injury claims, mediation is mandatory. As a result, it is important for personal injury lawyers to become very familiar with the use of mediation as a key tool to resolving personal injury claims. Understanding the mediation process is a must for any lawyer seeking to practice litigation or dealing with any disputes for that matter.

It is important for lawyers to explain to their clients the process of mediation and what is expected of the key players, the mediator, the lawyers and their clients. In mediation, the parties retain the services of a neutral third-party to assist them in resolving their dispute. The mediator facilitates a discussion between the parties in an attempt to resolve some or all of the issues.

Most mediations follow the following steps: the mediator provides the parties with an introduction to the mediation process and invites one of the parties to set out their views on how they see the issues being resolved during the mediation session. The next stage involves one of the parties setting out their case which usually includes an introduction and a recommendation for settlement. The next stage involves the other party setting out their case. Next, the mediator facilitates a discussion between the parties by exploring their views, interests and positions on the issues and together the parties attempt to resolve the issues in contention. If an agreement is reached, the parties usually sign a written agreement setting out the terms of the agreement. In some cases, the mediator will asked the parties to caucus. In caucus, the mediator will have frank discussions with each party and their lawyers separately which can often be very helpful in overcoming impasses that occur during mediation.

It is extremely important for lawyers to properly prepare their clients for mediation and that includes ensuring that they have provided to the opposing party all documents that are relevant to the issues in the action and they have obtained all relevant documents from the opposing party.

The lawyer representing the client at mediation will file on behalf of the client a statement of issues with supporting documentation. This mediation brief is provided to the opposing party and to the mediator but is not filed with the court. Typically, any documents dealing with settlement are not filed with the court so that the court remains neutral at all times.

The lawyer and client should have a clear objective for mediation and a lawyer should have instructions on what the client expects from mediation in terms of settlement.

Mediation is an effective tool in obtaining settlements in all cases including personal injury and accident cases. Our lawyers are trained in various forms of alternate dispute resolution methods including mediation which is the most common form of alternate dispute resolution process. It is important that lawyers representing clients in mediation are effective advocates and are knowledgeable about the process. As lawyers practicing personal injury law in Ontario, we are mandated by the rules of professional conduct to suggest the use of alternate dispute resolution processes to our clients. At Quinn Thiele Mineault Grodzki LLP, we encourage the use of various forms of alternate dispute resolution processes and have found great success in the use of mediation to resolve personal injury claims.

At Quinn Thiele Mineault Grodzki LLP, our lawyers offer free consultations and work on a contingency fee basis since most of the files we handle are personal injury matters. If you or someone you care about has been injured as a result of the negligence of another person, please contact one of our Ottawa personal injury lawyers for a free consultation. Call us at 613-315-4878.