A very large percentage of lawsuits filed in the court systems will settle before trial. Some settle early, but only after a lawsuit has been filed and much legal work has been completed. Others settle on the near the time of trial or even after a jury has been picked or the trial has begun. Mediation is a great way to avoid this time and expense and settle a dispute even before a lawsuit is filed. In mediation, a neutral third party called a Mediator hears a dispute between two or more parties and attempts to help the parties settle their dispute without actual adjudicating and deciding the case. Mediators may be practicing attorneys, retired judges or other professionals who are highly trained and work in the specialized field of mediation. William Clark is trained and certified as a mediator. The best mediators demonstrate neutrality in evaluating and resolving each case, and good mediators help the parties recognize the strengths and weaknesses of both sides of a dispute and the costs and risks of litigation. At the end of good mediation, both sides should be satisfied with the outcome. Below are some examples of situations that may be resolved without filing a lawsuit by agreeing to use a mediator.
Disputes at Work
Unions and trade groups are no longer as common or powerful as they once were. As a result, more individuals are on their own when resolving disputes with employers or fellow employees. Mediation is growing as a way for people in the private business sector to avoid litigation. Some examples of workplace disputes that may be resolved through mediation include disputes between employees, allegations of harassment, contractual disputes with employers and workers compensation claims.
Problems with Your Neighbor
Mediation is a cost-effective way to prevent litigation and resolve disputes between landlords and tenants, members of homeowners associations, small businesses and consumers, and neighbors in a neighborhood. Many community programs offer their services for free or at a nominal fee. Also, keep in mind that mediation can help maintain privacy between the people involved.
Many contract disputes over work by independent contractors, service agreements or significant purchases less than $20,000 can wind up in small claims court. Even this type of litigation can cost time and money in filing fees and preparation. A mediator can offer a less painful and less complex solution to help the parties resolve their differences without going to court.
Problems at School
Students and even teachers are often encouraged to settle disputes among their peers through mediators provided by the school. Whether the problem is truancy, discipline, grades, resources for special needs, or some other controversy, mediation is a viable alternative to formal complaints and hearings before a tribunal.
Family Interpersonal Issues
Arguments between family members and individuals may not even involve a legal claim but can still be emotional and lead to serious issues. Family, friend, peer, and roommate conflicts are often deserving of mediation to help find a solution. Sometimes, the mediator may be a professional counselor. Other times, a professional mediator may be best. A mediator can help bridge the gap between legal and personal issues so that everyone understands their rights and is satisfied with the end result.