Every personal injury claim comes to an end at some point with the final resolution option a trial before a judge and/or jury. Obtaining trials dates in Nova Scotia can take significant time depending on the amount of time required for trial and what area in the province the trial will take place. Trials requiring more than three weeks of court time, for example, are typically scheduled 2-3 years in the future. You can expect to see shorter trials scheduled between 12-24 months in the future.
Having a date for trial in the future does not mean that the parties cannot participate in settlement discussions in a timelier manner with a goal of settling the file and eliminating the need for a trial. One very helpful settlement avenue for earlier resolution is to participate in a mediation. Mediation is a negotiation between the parties assisted by a neutral, impartial third party acceptable and agreed to by all. The mediator is not a decision maker but rather works with the parties to assist them in reaching a voluntarily and mutually agreed upon settlement.
There are many benefits of a mediation including the following:
- Mediation is voluntary. This means all parties to the dispute need to agree to attend a mediation. A trial is mandatory (if a personal injury claim is not resolved before the trial date.).
- Mediation is timely. While trial dates are scheduled well into the future, a mediation can typically be scheduled within 3 months. The faster resolution is beneficial for all parties, especially if there are pressing financial needs or a desire to move on from the dispute.
- Mediation is confidential. Unlike a trial, which is a public process in open court with a public decision, a mediation is private process which means discussions and information disclosed during mediation are generally confidential. This can encourage open communication and settlement discussions without the fear of public disclosure.
- Mediation preserves relationships. A mediation allows parties to not only resolve their disputes but to also preserve relationships. Conflict, handled poorly, can negatively impact future relationships.
- Mediation provides mutually satisfactory resolutions. All parties at a mediation have a voice in crafting an acceptable resolution.
- Mediation is flexible. Unlike a trial where Rules of Court dictate process, a mediation can be designed to meet the needs of the parties as it allows greater flexibility. Parties can tailor agreements to their specific needs and interests, rather than being bound by strict legal remedies.
- Mediation is cost effective. The cost of preparing for and proceeding to trial can be significant with uncertainty over the outcome of a trial. A mediation involves an agreed upon fee which is typically shared between the parties and is significantly less expensive than the cost of a trial.
- Mediation provides control. In mediation, both parties have more control over the outcome compared to going to a trial. This is significantly different than a trial where the judge and/or jury is in control of the outcome. Control (and certainty) over the outcome in a mediation is a key benefit to the mediation process.
Overall, mediation offers a range of potential benefits for personal injury claims in Nova Scotia, providing an alternative to traditional litigation that can be more efficient, cost-effective, and conducive to finding mutually acceptable solutions. MDW Law is pleased to offer mediation services for a range of legal disputes, including personal injury claims. More information can be found at https://www.mdwlaw.ca/services/mediation/.