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Following the occurrence of an accident, there may be no clear indication of who was at fault. In that case, a dispute could arise, concerning who should pay for the resulting damages or injuries. Even if one person has been named as the one responsible for the accident, there could be a disagreement, regarding the extent of the damages.

In either case, the legal system has designed a way for settling such a dispute. That system calls for a 2-stage approach.

Negotiations get used during the first stage.

The victim can negotiate with the insurance company that will need to pay for the damages. Victims that so desire can hire a Personal Injury Lawyer in St John’s to do the negotiating for them. During the negotiations, each side puts forth is argument, regarding what took place at the time of the incident that led to the dispute.

The results of any negotiation are fairly predictable. Each side has made an initial offer. Each side must then make some compromises, so that the 2 sides agree on a final figure, the one that represents the final settlement. If one side refuses to compromise, the goal of reaching a settlement seems unobtainable. In that case, the representatives for the 2 sides may decide to meet in court.

Comparing a trial to negotiations

During a court trial, no one gets asked to compromise. Each side presents its arguments before a jury. A jury decides which argument it will accept as one that has been sufficiently verified. A trial can last much longer than a period of negotiations. In addition, neither side can predict beforehand what the jury will decide.

There is one aspect of a trial that can benefit the person that fails to win-over the jury. The legal system allows for the filing of an appeal. The jury’s decision might be changed, following the hearing that takes place during the appeal process. That is in contrast to the decision agreed to at the end of negotiations, which cannot be changed.

A possible alternative to a trial

Failed negotiations do not have to be followed by litigations. If the 2 sides agree, they can take part in a process called mediation. In that instance, a mediator listens to both sides and works towards helping each side to understand better the other side’s view.

Mediators have been trained to help with reaching some type of resolution. They try to focus on the strong points in either side’s argument. Mediation does not encourage the creation of adversaries. The beauty of mediation gets displayed in the mediator’s comments, once the 2 sides have reached an agreement. The mediator feels the thrill of victory, because a disagreement has ended peacefully.