Mediation technically refers to a third party trying to help two groups resolve their dispute. Nolo’s Law simply explains mediation as “a way that parties can resolve their own dispute without going to court.” Both parties agree to have a neutral person (the mediator) help them agree on a solution. If they cannot agree, then the groups can continue with a lawsuit. Mediation is more informal and inexpensive than litigation or arbitration. It allows the parties to seek creative solutions. Typically, both parties meet in the same building but in different rooms. The mediator then goes back and forth between the two parties. They try to understand each side and help them see the reality of the other side’s arguments. This process continues until one of two options happens. One, the parties agree on a solution. Two, one party decides mediation will not produce their desired results and ends it.
Because they could not reach an agreement on their own, the two parties used the help of mediation to figure out a solution.
In one of our cases, a Roto-Rooter employee hit a man on a bike. He lost the use of one leg and suffered a serious brain injury. The company denied responsibility, meaning they would pay the victim nothing. He came to us and we filed a lawsuit. They met with us in mediation and finally offered a fair settlement. Now the man can take care of his injuries and recover properly.
Mediation leads to several benefits.
- Saving money and time – mediation takes less time than other methods.
- Confidentiality – no one keeps a record of the mediation unlike other methods.
- Control – you must agree on the solution or it will not happen. Other methods have a final decision outside of your control.
- Compliance – since both parties agreed on a solution, they will likely stick to it. This avoids more costs of enforcing the decision.
Some have even done mediation through the internet. However, a law professor cautions against it. US Legal has a list of different types of mediation forms. Mediate.com has a list of mediators by city and by type of law. Utah’s State Court website also has information on mediation in Utah. Utah’s laws also contain more information specific to mediation here.
Image courtesy of Good Guys Injury Law.