Kentuckiana Mediation Attorneys
If you’re thinking about getting involved in Indiana civil litigation or you’ve been served with a civil lawsuit, you may imagine scenes of dramatic courtroom testimony and inspiring legal arguments resulting in a hard-fought jury verdict in your favor. If so, you’ll be disappointed. The reality is there’s little chance that will ever actually happen.
Of all the civil cases filed, very few are resolved through trials. It’s simply too expensive, too time consuming and too emotionally draining. If a case isn’t quickly dismissed because it’s baseless or due to a procedural problem, in all likelihood the parties will reach an agreement that includes some kind of compensation in exchange for the case’s being dismissed or withdrawn, never to be filed again. The costs and risks are normally too high to gamble a case’s outcome at a trial.
The Kentuckiana mediation attorneys at McNeely Stephenson possess decades of experience successfully representing clients in civil cases. Attorneys Larry Church, Dana Eberle-Peay, Jason Lopp, and Gary Banet provide legal guidance and strategies that bring about swift and positive resolutions through mediation. For an initial consultation about your civil case, contact Dana at (812) 726-7839. We take exceptional care of our clients.
What Is Mediation?
Mediation is when two opposing parties sit down at a table and politely work out a solution that both can agree to. Typically only civil cases can be mediated (with a few exceptions). Civil cases that often are mediated include business disputes, landlord-tenant disputes, small claims disputes, divorces, child custody disputes and contract disputes. Hiring a lawyer as a consultant to offer advice and guidance during the mediation is substantially cheaper than hiring a lawyer to litigate your case.
One of the primary reasons to choose mediation over typical litigation is that it may help you maintain an important relationship with the person on the other side. Mediation is more cooperative and collaborative, so it is a good choice for disputes that involve business partners, co-parents or next door neighbors. Mediation is also ideal because it is typically quick, less expensive and much less stressful for all parties involved.
The Different Types of Civil Mediation
Civil mediation focuses on collaboratively resolving transaction and relationship disputes in a more comfortable yet binding manner. Following are several common types of mediation:
Small- and medium-sized businesses often benefit tremendously from using mediation rather than litigation to resolve conflicts. Business owners sometimes run into conflict with neighboring businesses, employees, customers, vendors or with their own business partners; yet, unlike corporations, smaller businesses often lack public relations, human resources, and legal departments to help them deal with these conflicts.
What’s more, unless the situation is resolved amicably, the leftover hostility can affect a business owner’s quality of life — it can be unpleasant to bump up against an unfriendly party on a day-to-day basis. Mediation is an efficient and effective way to resolve business disputes and maintain a sense of community.
Insurance mediation refers to the process of settling disputes arising from certain types of insurance claims. The dispute will be between the insured and the insurer.
Insurance mediation can be an effective means for resolving a vast array of insurance-related issues. For example, people may turn to mediation for auto insurance-related matters. Perhaps someone you know may have been involved in a car accident and feels the settlement was unfair. In these instances, mediation can be an expedient method for receiving a settlement that is more acceptable based on the accident.
Mediation can also serve as an efficient alternative to litigation for health, homeowner, life, travel, or pet insurance disputes. Keep in mind that an insurance company needs to agree to attend mediation; they cannot be forced.
One of the ideal aspects of mediation in estate and probate cases is privacy. Mediation does not result in a public record like a trial does. Both the confidentiality and informal nature of mediation offer all parties the chance to deal with emotional issues surrounding family, parents and communal property.
Probate, trust, or guardianship disputes can result in an eruption of long-standing family problems (perceived favoritism, sibling rivalry, disapproval of a marriage, etc.). This is when an impartial mediator can step in and lower the emotional temperature of the situation, offering solutions that are agreeable to all parties.
Family Law Mediation
Mediation can be a great alternative to litigation when it comes to things like divorce, child custody and child support. A more relaxed mediation environment can make it easier emotionally on both adults and children, and mediation is more likely to produce results that both parties can find agreeable. When you go to trial, the judge will make decisions about your family and it’s more likely that one party will feel like they “lost.” Attorney Dana Eberle-Peay has years of experience in helping families through these difficult periods of family law so they can move on with their lives.
Personal Injury Mediation
In recent years, there has been slow but steady movement away from the expensive, stressful, and time-consuming adversarial legal system as a way of settling personal injury disputes. If you have reached an impasse in negotiations with an insurance company over settlement of your personal injury claim, mediation may offer a sensible way out.
Property Dispute Mediation
Many real estate contracts now require the parties to mediate disputes that might arise between them. Whether it’s a disagreement about the condition of a property, the agreed-upon price or other details, mediation is a good first step in resolving property disputes.
Professional Malpractice Mediation
Unsuccessful surgeries, neglect of a loved one or other substandard care in medical facilities can result in malpractice disputes against physicians, nurses, hospital organizations and nursing home facilities. Mediation can be an ideal way to resolve these disputes.
What Is “Alternative Dispute Resolution”?
There are several types of dispute resolution, and mediation is just one of these. Other types of dispute resolution include arbitration and negotiated settlement. These are all referred to as “alternative dispute resolution” because they are paths to resolving conflicts that can eliminate the need for lawsuits and trials in front of a judge. Alternative dispute resolutions are often collaborative and designed to reach solutions that everyone can feel okay about. They are also quicker, less expensive and more private than trials.
How Long Does Mediation Typically Take?
Statistically, most mediation cases last only a day or two, according to FindLaw. This is partly because mediation is less cumbersome than litigation, but is also because people typically take smaller disputes to mediation and save really large, complex claims for litigation. Larger business and divorce/custody mediation may last significantly longer – weeks even – but this is still much quicker than traditional litigation. The lawyers at McNeely Stephenson can give you a better idea about the time it may take for your specific civil case. Please contact us at (812) 726-7839.
How Much Does Civil Mediation Cost?
Private mediators generally charge by the hour. Many cases are resolved in only a few hours. In addition to the cost of the mediator, each party must pay the fee of the party’s lawyer for assistance provided at the mediation. The mediator may initially request that each side pay a deposit equal to half of the expected fee, but the parties may later negotiate for a different payment schedule.
What Does the Mediation Process Look Like?
While there is no formal mediation process, FindLaw states that typically mediation will follow these steps:
- The mediator will introduce himself or herself and make some opening comments about the rules and goals of mediation.
- Each side is given the opportunity to describe the dispute as he or she sees it without interruption from the other side.
- Depending on the mediator and the parties, the mediator may then start a mutual discussion with both of the parties present or may engage each party privately, going back and forth, working out each issue.
- After discussing the issues with the parties, a mediator will typically bring both parties together to jointly negotiate a solution.
- If the negotiation is successful, then the mediator will put down the agreement in writing, advise them to consult a lawyer, and ask them to sign, pending their lawyer’s agreement.
- If the negotiation was not successful, the mediator will typically summarize the issues the parties did agree on and advise them of their rights going forward.
Kentuckiana Mediation Can Benefit Both Parties
Usually the parties are able to reach a negotiated agreement. To speed up that process or help parties hung up on a few very contentious issues, a trained mediator can be invaluable. If the case will settle at some point, reaching that settlement sooner rather than later can result in huge savings in time and money.
A mediator is a neutral third party who helps those involved reach an agreement and put their dispute behind them. It’s a type of alternate dispute resolution in which the parties reach the understanding that battling further isn’t in their interests. They’re better off reaching out to each other, hearing each other out and coming to a mutual understanding that allows them to move on with their lives.
Pros and Cons of Mediation vs. a Trial
Even if your case can be mediated, you may want to question whether it is the best option, given your goals and situation. Some typical reasons not to mediate and choose a trial instead might include:
- You strongly feel that the other party should have to admit or be found guilty. Mediation will typically not involve any sort of admission of guilt; instead, it is structured more like a compromise.
- You want to send a “message” or establish a legal precedent. Results from mediation are not binding on other parties, so even if you mediate a successful result from a large company, it will have no bearing on future cases against that company.
- You believe a jury would be extremely sympathetic and award you a big verdict. Mediation is a compromise, and as such it tends to exclude extremely large settlements that juries can sometimes award.
Mediation Is a Collaborative Solution
Mediation can be a safe time and place to tell one’s story to the other side and feel heard, but in a way that doesn’t ratchet up emotions that can make settlement more difficult. The parties can meet together to try to work things out or be in separate rooms, with the mediator shuttling back and forth.
The parties make hard decisions about what they truly need before they can resolve the conflict and decide what other issues can be compromised. Mediation can be a place where creative thinking can result in a way toward settlement that wasn’t considered before. Both parties can map out alternate routes to a place where everyone reaches their goals while leaving litigation behind.
The parties remain the decision-makers at a mediation. The mediator may make suggestions and guide them to reconciliation, but ultimately the parties decide what they’ll do. The parties may have huge financial and emotional stakes at issue, but if litigation proceeds they give up control of all that to strangers — the judge and jury. If you don’t want to risk losing it all at a trial decided by people you’ve never met before, you need to seriously consider mediation.
If you’re involved in litigation just out of vengeance and a desire to inflict pain on someone you think wronged you, mediation isn’t for you. It requires thoughtful people willing to compromise who see the value of their time and money accomplishing worthwhile and positive things.
Get Help with Your Kentuckiana Mediation
Most private mediators in civil cases are lawyers with special mediation training and experience. Attorney Larry Church, Dana Eberle-Peay, Jason Lopp, and Gary Banet have helped parties by using common sense in combination with the skills learned over the course of their legal careers to help craft cost-effective and appropriate resolutions of disputes. Over the years, they have seen trial after trial, dispute after dispute, and understand that mediation can be a much better way for all parties involved to end the conflict and get on with their lives.
Larry likes to say his job is to take the parties from trying to “compare apples to oranges” to a place where they can begin to “just compare apples” and determine the best possible settlement. This process takes compromise and patience, but it works as long as all sides come to the table with an earnest desire to resolve their issues.
If you find yourself fed up and stressed out because of the litigation process and you need help to resolve your dispute, give our mediation attorneys a call at (812) 725-8224. Typically, we can schedule a mediation session quickly and will work tirelessly to help you reach an appropriate resolution that allows both parties to relax and move on.