mediation services are used to help parties resolve legal disputes outside of the court system. The types of cases that are often mediated include those involving personal injuries, real estate issues, business transactions, insurance matters, construction issues, and employment discrimination. The focus in mediation is on the parties’ needs and interests. The mediator can provide creative solutions that may not be available in court. Mediation is also typically less expensive than a lawsuit.
The process of mediation often repairs or rebuilds relationships that would be destroyed by the acrimony and expense of litigation. This can be especially important in cases involving children or business relationships.
Unlike a court case, which is public record, mediations are confidential and participants have the option to keep their settlement private. The speed of mediation can save time and money for everyone involved. It can also reduce the risk of future litigation by providing a resolution that avoids the uncertainty of trial and appeals.
When choosing a mediator, consider their subject matter expertise and whether they have mediated similar situations. Some mediators specialize in certain areas, including healthcare, workplace disputes (discrimination or harassment), community conflicts, construction, and intellectual property. Others are general practitioners that work with a variety of subjects. If you are not sure which mediator to choose, ask your attorney or a colleague for recommendations. Also, ask the mediator about their fees and the payment plan. Many mediators charge on a sliding scale based on your income.