Any civil lawsuit claiming injury from a harmful product can be stressful and challenging. This is certainly true of hair straightener lawsuits, in which victims have alleged serious injuries such as cancer.
Considering the emotional toll that a trial may exert, plaintiffs often wonder if reaching a settlement is possible. There is a potential alternative to trial: mediation. Here, the personal injury and mass tort attorneys of Rueb Stoller Daniel take a look at how mediation can help.
What Is Mediation?
Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) that seeks to resolve lawsuits without the need for trial. It is a voluntary and confidential process in which a neutral third party, known as a mediator, guides settlement discussions. Unlike a trial, where the jury makes the final decision, mediation allows the parties to find a mutually acceptable solution.
Mediators play a critical role in facilitating the mediation process. They are trained professionals who remain impartial and do not have decision-making authority or a personal stake in the outcome. Instead, their goal is to foster open communication, identify common ground, and help the parties explore various options for resolution.
What Are Some Advantages of Mediating a Hair Straightener Lawsuit?
Mediation offers several advantages over traditional litigation, including:
- Cost savings. Mediation can be more cost-effective than going to trial. It reduces the need for extensive legal proceedings and associated court and attorney expenses.
- Time efficiency. Mediation typically takes less time than a trial, allowing the parties to reach a resolution sooner.
- Confidentiality. Mediation proceedings are confidential. This means discussions and settlement offers made during the process are not admissible in court if mediation fails.
- Control over the outcome. The parties have much more control over the final outcome in mediation. This allows them to explore creative solutions to complex problems that a judge may not have the inclination to consider.
What Is the Mediation Process?
In most cases, mediation will proceed as follows. At the beginning of the mediation session, the mediator will explain the process and set the ground rules. Each party will have the opportunity to make an opening statement, sharing their perspectives on the case.
The mediator may conduct joint sessions, in which both parties are present and can discuss their issues freely. But mediation also typically involves private sessions in which the mediator meets with each party separately.
Private sessions allow the mediator to discuss sensitive issues and explore potential solutions confidentially. A party may, if desired, ask the mediator to step out so he or she can confer privately with legal counsel.
The mediator will help the parties explore various options for resolution, considering the interests and needs of all involved. As the mediator meets with the two sides, a potential resolution will emerge. The contours of that resolution will hopefully develop and solidify as the parties review and discuss the proposed settlement.
If a comprehensive agreement is reached, the mediator will help draft the settlement paperwork. Both parties and their attorneys will review and sign this agreement, which resolves the lawsuit if the court approves it.
Will Mediation Resolve Hair Straightener Lawsuits?
This ultimately remains an open question. The answer is subject to change but depends on a number of factors, including:
- How many lawsuits a defendant (hair straightener manufacturer) is currently facing
- How many such lawsuits have already been tried, settled, and dismissed
- How many more potential victims may file lawsuits
- The monetary awards reached in other hair straightener lawsuits
- The skill of the legal counsel involved on both sides
- The wishes of both parties to settle versus try potentially novel legal questions
Having Experienced Legal Representation Is Critical
Mediating a hair straightener lawsuit offers a number of benefits compared to litigation. Because every lawsuit is different, the effectiveness of mediation will vary from one case to another. At Rueb Stoller Daniel, we are committed to exploring every possible avenue to winning justice for hair straightener injury victims. Give us a call today to start on your case.