My car insurance company wants to mediate our dispute. Should I agree?

Mediation of a disputed car accident injury claim can be a quicker and less expensive alternative to going to court.

You may not have much to lose if you agree to mediation. That’s because a mediator simply makes recommendations that are not binding on the parties, and tries to get both sides to come to an agreement. If the mediation doesn’t lead to resolution of your dispute, you can take the matter to court, or if a car accident lawsuit has already been filed, just pick up where you left off in the litigation process.

But a successful mediation can save you the time and expense of going to court, not to mention the uncertainty of putting the decision in the (sometimes unpredictable) hands of a jury. (More Alternatives to Court in Car Accident Cases.)

In mediation, the two sides of a dispute -- here, that’s you and your car insurance carrier -- select a neutral third person to act as a mediator. Often this person is a retired or active judge or attorney, or an insurance professional with experience in the injury claim process.

In mediation, the parties may or may not be represented by an attorney, although if the other side is an insurance carrier, it’s a safe bet that an attorney will be representing the company at the mediation table. The process is informal, with the mediator meeting with each side separately, or with both sides together, or through a combination of both approaches, depending on the specifics of the dispute and the amicability of the parties.

Depending on the complexity of the case, car insurance claim mediation can take a few hours or a few days. The mediation process ends when the parties reach an agreement, or when one or both parties decide not to continue with the mediation process.

Learn more: Car Accident Claim Mediation.

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