Mediation is a voluntary settlement process to help parties resolve disputes. It is part of a larger movement in the law called Alternative Dispute Resolution or ADR. Mediation is an informal process where a mediator helps people with a dispute to reach agreement. Mediations are used in many types of disputes, including personal injury cases, workers’ compensation cases (also known as Benefit Review Conferences when used in the context of the Tennessee Department of Labor), divorces, contracts, and business litigation. The mediation process identifies important issues, clarifies misunderstandings, explores solutions, and negotiates settlement. Mediation is a process that brings parties together to resolve their differences through discussion and problem-solving. The goal is to achieve “win-win” solutions. The mediator is a “neutral” party who helps facilitate the dialogue, but is not the final decision-maker, arbitrator, or judge.
What is the mediator’s role?
The mediator is not a judge and does not make a decision or impose a solution on the dispute. Rather, the mediator helps those involved in the dispute talk to each other, thereby allowing them to resolve the dispute themselves. In most circumstances, the mediator is a person with many years of experience in the type of litigation involved in the matter. The mediator manages the mediation session and remains impartial.
How does mediation work?
At the mediation session each person involved in the dispute presents a summary of his or her point of view. The mediator will meet with everyone together and will also meet individually with each side. This offers participants the opportunity to communicate to the mediator the real interests in the dispute outside the presence of opposing side. The mediator will work with each party until an agreement is reached that is acceptable to everyone. The agreement is put in writing and signed by the parties involved.
How long does mediation take?
The time required for mediation varies. It depends on the complexity of the issues and the concerns of the people involved. It may be necessary to meet with the mediator more than once.
Who pays for the mediation?
The cost of mediation is generally shared equally by the parties involved unless they agree otherwise. Some mediations, for instance Benefit Review Conferences with the Tennessee Department of Labor, are free of charge to the participants.
What are the benefits of mediation?
- People keep control over the resolution of their own problem.
- Disputes can be settled promptly. A mediation session can be scheduled as soon as everyone agrees to use mediation to resolve the dispute, even before a lawsuit may be filed.
- Mediation costs are significantly less than taking a case to trial
- Mediation promotes better relationships through cooperative problem-solving and improved communication.
- Mediation is private and confidential. The mediator and the people in the dispute must maintain the confidentiality of the information disclosed during mediation.
- Mediation is voluntary. Although a judge may order a case to mediation, the mediation may be terminated at any time by the people involved or by the mediator. Settlement is also entirely voluntary. If you cannot reach an agreement, you still have the right to take the dispute before a judge or jury.
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If you need more information on mediation or you need to speak to someone about a personal injury matter (car wreck, boating accident, slip and fall, etc.), Social Security Disability or SSI matter, or a workers compensation matter, please contact John Dreiser at the Law Offices of Tony Farmer and John Dreiser for a free case evaluation. We can be reached at (865) 584-1211 or (800) 806-4611 or by e-mail at John@farmerdreiser.com, through Facebook, or through our website at www.farmerdreiser.com. Our office handles claims throughout East Tennessee, including Knoxville, Chattanooga, Kingsport, Bristol, Johnson City, Morristown, Maryville, Rogersville, Dandridge, Tazewell, New Tazewell, Jefferson City, Strawberry Plains, Sevierville, Gatlinburg, Loudon, Kingston, Halls, Maynardville, Crossville, Cookeville, Sweetwater, Lenoir City, Athens, Oak Ridge, Clinton, LaFollette, Lake City, Jacksboro, Bean Station, Cosby, Newport, White Pine, Mosheim, Wartburg, Sunbright, Pigeon Forge, and Deer Lodge.
- Best Careers 2011: Mediator (money.usnews.com)