Mediation

Civil actions or suits are expensive for all parties involved. A trial of a civil suit, whether for a car accident or an industrial accident, can be expensive to take to trial. This is especially true for a person injured in a car accident and the law firm that is representing that person.

Any party bringing a lawsuit for damages has the burden of proof, meaning they must prove all legal elements by a preponderance of the evidence. A preponderance of the evidence means the Plaintiff has proven the facts with more certainty than the Defendant.

Expert witnesses are often called to explain the injuries suffered. Other experts are called to trial to explain to the jury why the Defendant is liable and the causation of the accident. In order to do this, great sums of money are now required to successfully prosecute a personal injury trial. It can cost $5,000 or more for an orthopedic surgeon or a neuropsychologist to prepare and attend the trial of a civil suit. These funds, which may be advanced by the attorney for the injured party, ultimately are reimbursed from the verdict that a jury may award.

Due to the expense of a trial, alternative means of resolving disputes have been developed. One method is the mediation process. Mediation has been active in the United States Federal Court system in West Virginia since the late 1980's. In the past ten years, almost all Circuit Courts in West Virginia have started to encourage or even require mediation.

During the mediation process, the parties meet with an experienced attorney and during what typically takes the better part of a day, the parties attempt to resolve the suit. All parties are required to attend the mediation, along with an insurance adjustor or corporate representative who has the authority to settle the claim.