No. He can make suggestions.
And you – and the insurance company – can each reject his suggestions, and make your own decisions.
A mediator is a go between. He starts out any mediation pretty much as (1) a communications device – like a telephone, or email – and (2) a listening board.
But if you’re lucky, you can learn a lot from him.
The mediatior’s job is to carry offers and demands back and forth between the you and the insurance company.
He talks to you and your lawyer, finds out what you want, leaves the room, tells the insurance company, finds out what they say what they will pay, and then goes back to your room and takes that number back to you. Probably at least 7 or 8 times.
But he is just a smart, informed lawyer. He has no formal power to make someone pay or accept a figure they don’t want to pay or accept.
Why does mediation work? First, the mediator is neutral, in the sense that he is not adverse to anyone. This makes him more believable.
If your lawyer tells the insurance company that your case is worth $50,000, or $3 million, they are not going to listen to him.
But if a mediator tells them that he thinks a jury could award you that much, they might listen. Because he’s not being paid to argue for you.
Second – hopefully – everyone who can make a decision is there. It’s a chance to settle the case, and everyone is committed for at least 3 hours.
When you get a bad offer, you don’t just walk away – you make a counter offer just a little closer to the other side’s number. So long as you think you can get them to a number you can live with, you keep talking.
Because the biggest danger of non-settlement happens when everybody stops talking.
I have been a lawyer over 30 years. I go to mediation with my clients; but I also volunteer as a mediator to help other lawyers settle their car accident lawsuits. If you’ve been injured in a car accident, talk with an experienced Cincinnati Personal Injury Attorney about the case. Call me, William Strubbe, at 513-621-4775.
Because all situations are different, and because there may be other facts pertaining to your case that I don’t know about, you should not rely on this answer for legal advice. I am not your attorney, and no lawyer client relationship has been formed.