Elder abuse is a serious problem that affects millions of Americans. It is believed that instances of elder abuse are drastically underreported. When a loved one is concerned about their loved one being abused or neglected they may immediately jump to litigation. Mediation is a viable alternative that offers many benefits to parties, including:
Mediation is a private process. It is not conducted in an open forum like a court case is. It is also confidential, so the parties do not have to worry about what they say being used against them later in court. Privacy helps to protect the loved one, as well as the nursing home, which can avoid negative publicity. It also facilitates open discussion so that the parties can clear up misunderstandings.
Mediation can be scheduled based solely on the parties’ and mediator’s schedules. Parties do not have to try to add their names to an exhaustive court docket. By resolving disputes faster, the parties are often able to minimize damages and preserve relationships.
A lot of expenses go into litigation, including:
- Court costs
- Attorney fees
- Discovery costs
- Expert witness fees
These sums can result in significant costs to both parties.
In mediation, the parties can often minimize their costs. They may not incur filing fees if they immediately seek resolution through a mediator and bypass the litigation process. Additionally, they can split the cost of mediation.
Preservation of Relationships
Mediation is often able to help the parties maintain a civil relationship with one another. Unlike in litigation where the parties are pitted against each other, the parties work together in mediation to come up with possible solutions to their shared legal problem.
In mediation, the parties are often able to brainstorm creative solutions to their legal problem. They are not restricted like they are in litigation to money damages or other limited forms of relief.
Mediation is a legal process that helps parties embroiled in a dispute work together to resolve the issue, effectively taking the power from the court and placing it squarely in the hands of the parties involved in the dispute. Because of the many benefits of mediation, including the cost and time savings, mediation is increasingly being used by more parties, including nursing homes and disputants. Here is what you should know about mediation in this context.
Types of Nursing Home Cases that Can Be Mediated
Many different types of disputes that occur within the nursing home context can be effectively resolved through mediation. One of the few requirements is that the parties be willing to use this method and participate in good faith. Mediation has successfully resolved cases involving:
- Billing disputes
- Disputes over care provided or withheld
- Employment disputes
- Concerns regarding abuse or neglect
The Process of Mediation
The parties usually voluntarily agree to mediate the claim. They will agree on a mediator, usually someone with experience involving nursing homes or personal injury cases. The mediator explains the ground rules of mediation, describes its benefits, and helps guide the parties’ communication.
Mediation is confidential, so the parties often feel more comfortable freely expressing themselves without worrying about hearing what they say repeated in court. This open communication can help clear up misunderstandings and also allow the plaintiff in the case to freely express their concerns, an opportunity not usually afforded within the civil litigation process.
The parties work together to reach possible solutions to their legal issue. If the parties cansettle, the mediator draws up a written agreement to this effect.
The coronavirus has led to millions of illnesses and thousands of deaths across the United States. It has also caused significant effects in other realms, including disrupting the economy and leading to millions of workers laid off. While mediation has been around for a long time, the current pandemic highlights its usefulness, especially in the following three areas:
Not long after the pandemic was underway in the United States, family lawyers across the country started receiving more calls from parents who were struggling to co-parent during this unprecedented time. Many courts around the country closed in response to concerns about the virus, so many were left with little guidance on how to deal with a situation not contemplated when their custody order was put in place.
Mediation is particularly effective in resolving family disputes because it gets the parties to work together toward a shared mutual goal. The parties can consider arrangements that work best for their family without the intervention or reliance on the family court system. Because the parties helped to put the arrangements in place, they are more likely to adhere to the terms of the agreement.
The coronavirus has led to massive layoffs. An important social movement has also coincided during this time, resulting in the demand for equal pay and social justice. Employers have had to make difficult decisions in the last few months.
Employment disputes may be resolved through mediation. The parties can come up with creative solutions to their problems and also discuss their concerns in a safe forum.
Many contracts did not anticipate the issues surrounding coronavirus. Parties may be carefully reviewing their force majeure clauses. A knowledgeable mediator can discuss how courts have recently ruled on these issues and explain the benefits of keeping the case out of court to provide greater certainty and control over the outcome.