The right to a trial by jury is guaranteed by both the United States and Kentucky Constitutions. It is one of our most precious rights. In an auto accident case it is the jury that will determine fault and damages. Juries are the great equalizers between the powerful insurance companies and the members of a community. Nonetheless, litigation is very expenses and juries are unpredictable. With that in mind, in a case filed in the courts, the Judge will almost always order the parties to mediate a case. A mediation is a non-binding settlement conference between the parties. A professional mediator, often a retired judge, will bring the parties together to discuss the case and try to help them come to an agreement. The discussions at the mediation are confidential and cannot be used against the parties if the mediation is unsuccessful. If the parties come to a settlement, then the court is informed by the mediator and the litigation is over. If no settlement is reached, the litigation is continued and the right to a jury remains. The advent of mandatory mediations has decreased the number of cases that go to a jury. But a good mediator can point out the strengths and weaknesses of the parties’ cases and share their experiences while on the bench. If you find yourself in a lawsuit and the judge orders mediation, keep an open mind. It is often an opportune time for settlement. If not, then your jury awaits.
CATEGORIES: Insurance Law