Robinson Mediation Services Inc.

WHAT IS MEDIATION

Mediation is a dispute resolution process whereby an independent third party (Peter) facilitates settlement discussions between the parties in order to reach a resolution.

Mediation is mandatory in civil personal injury lawsuits in Toronto, Ottawa and Windsor. There have been recent changes to the rules in Toronto as to the timing of the mediation. Private mediations are common throughout Ontario.

The lawyers for each side contact Robinson Mediation Services and request Peter to act as mediator. A time and place for meeting is selected by the parties and confirmed by the mediator.

Mediation briefs are documents which detail the position of the injured party and the insurance company. They are prepared by the lawyers and sent to Peter. Peter reviews these documents in detail and comes to the mediation with a firm grasp of the facts and issues.

All parties meet together (called the general session) at the start of the mediation. Peter reviews the mediation process and the ground rules with all parties. Each party then outlines their position. Peter will then arrange for a caucus (private meeting) with each party in separate rooms. There will be an exchange of information and further offers.

The service Peter provides is to assist parties in resolving the lawsuit. This is done by objectively assessing the offers, offering input as to interest and right-based considerations and reviewing the evidence and the interests of each party in order to respond to the various offers. It is recognized that lawyers, adjusters and clients have differing approaches to mediation. Peter adapts his mediation style to fit with the needs and expectations of all parties. The mediation process is privileged (the comments cannot be disclosed to other parties) and extremely cost-effective. Instead of a one to three-week trial (with significant legal expenses) the lawsuit is settled within a day. This is advantageous to both parties. Unlike a trial, the parties have direct input into shaping a resolution, instead of having a verdict imposed upon them.

When should we mediate? When to mediate is a matter to be discussed with your lawyer. Generally speaking, the mediation should only take place once the doctors are able to give a firm prognosis about the injuries of the plaintiff. It may also be necessary for doctors on behalf of the defense to give opinions. Discoveries may be necessary as well.

What is the cost of mediation? It is up to the parties to agree upon who will pay for the mediation. The custom is for the parties to pay equally, or for the defense to pay. The agreement can be negotiated at the mediation.