What Is the Car Accident Mediation Process in New York?

Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution process that allows parties in a car accident case to settle their claims outside of court. In mediation, a neutral third-party mediator facilitates settlement negotiations between the plaintiff (the injured party) and the defendant (typically an insurance company).  

The mediation process is voluntary, confidential, and non-binding. If the parties cannot reach an agreement, they can still proceed to trial. However, mediation is typically faster, less expensive, and less adversarial than litigation. Your car accident lawyer in New York can help you decide if mediation is the right option for you.

The Mediation Process Step-by-Step

Here is an overview of the typical mediation process in a New York car accident case:


Either party can initiate mediation. Defense counsel may propose it to avoid litigation costs and delays. Plaintiffs’ attorneys often suggest it to expedite fair settlements for clients. Mediation clauses are also increasingly found in insurance policies.

Mediator Selection

The parties jointly select an experienced car accident mediator who is neutral and meets everyone’s approval. Many mediators are former judges or attorneys. Top mediators have high settlement rates.

Information Exchange

Prior to mediation, the parties exchange relevant information and evidence, such as police reports, medical records, and the cost of treatment. Sharing information lays the groundwork for productive negotiations.

Mediation Statements

Each side submits a mediation statement summarizing their position and communicating settlement expectations. These statements help parties evaluate the relative strengths and weaknesses of the case.

Opening Session

The mediation begins with joint opening remarks. Each side presents their view of the case facts, issues, and desired settlement terms. This facilitates open communication and understanding.

Private Caucuses

The mediator then holds private caucuses with each side to explore underlying needs, priorities, and options for settlement. These candid conversations enable creative problem-solving.


Through shuttle diplomacy, the mediator facilitates negotiations by carrying settlement offers and counteroffers between the parties. Offers focus on resolving the disputed issues to generate mutual gain. 


If the parties reach an agreement, the mediator drafts a memorandum outlining the settlement terms for both sides to sign. If needed, a more formal agreement can be written later.

Conclusion of the Case

If no settlement is reached, the parties can proceed to court litigation. However, even without a final resolution, mediation often lays the groundwork for an eventual settlement. Mediation provides a faster, less expensive alternative to court litigation, giving plaintiffs and defendants more control over car accident case outcomes in New York.  With an experienced mediator’s assistance, most parties are able to reach a mutually beneficial settlement that compensates plaintiffs fairly while limiting defense costs and liability. This makes mediation an attractive option for resolving New York car accident claims efficiently and effectively.

Benefits of Mediating Car Accident Cases

There are several key benefits to mediating car accident cases in New York:

Cost Savings

Mediation costs significantly less than litigation. Plaintiffs avoid expensive filing fees, discovery costs, expert witness fees, and attorney fees associated with taking a case to trial. Defendants avoid these costs as well. The mediator’s fees are typically split between the parties.

Faster Settlements

Mediation often leads to faster case resolutions. Rather than waiting months or years for a trial date, most mediated cases settle within weeks or months. This allows plaintiffs to receive compensation sooner to cover damages, medical bills, lost wages, etc.

Increased Claim Value

In some circumstances, you can recover higher settlement amounts through mediation compared to negotiating directly with insurance adjusters. Car accident attorneys help plaintiffs effectively present evidence to maximize claim value.

Mutually Beneficial Resolutions

Mediation leads to win-win solutions where both sides feel satisfied with the outcome. Plaintiffs receive fair compensation, while defendants avoid costly litigation and unpredictable jury verdicts. This can help facilitate amicable resolutions.

Creative Solutions

Mediators can explore creative solutions to satisfy both parties, such as structured settlements or non-cash resolutions. Plaintiffs benefit through tax advantages and secure future payments, while defendants cap liability exposure.

Control Over the Outcome

In mediation, the parties maintain control over the outcome rather than putting the case in the hands of a judge or jury. Parties decide what information to share, offers/counteroffers to make, and whether to settle. This self-determination provides greater satisfaction with the process.

How a Lawyer Can Help During the Mediation Process

When it comes to mediating personal injury cases, having an experienced attorney on your side can make all the difference. It is difficult to fight for yourself and recognize a fair settlement when you do not have a sense of what is realistic and achievable.  

The New York car accident lawyers of Richmond Vona are highly experienced in all forms of dispute resolution, including arbitration, negotiation, and litigation. You can trust that we will give it our all and strive to achieve your ideal outcome. Contact us today.

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