BY CATHY RIZZO
Simpson, Thomas & Associates
MEDIATION can be a great option for resolving your ICBC claim. The goal of mediation is to bring the parties together—including an ICBC representative—to discuss the issues and try to reach settlement, with the guidance of a neutral mediator. Traditionally, “bringing the parties together” meant that everyone was physically in the same room. The technology for virtual mediation has existed for some time, but many ICBC claim lawyers were concerned that the mediation process would lose its effectiveness if not done face-to-face. The COVID-19 pandemic forced parties to embrace the use of technology and may have forever changed the way personal injury claims are handled.
Increased used of virtual mediation
Our experienced ICBC claim lawyers have been using virtual mediations on an increasing number of personal injury claims throughout the year and we have been impressed with the results. Online mediation works and can be just as effective as traditional mediation. In fact, the way mediations run may be forever changed, as online mediation offers some great benefits. For example, online mediation can be less intimidating, allowing an accident victim to do the mediation in the comfort of their own home with loved ones close by, rather than having to go to an unfamiliar office and sit face-to-face strangers dressed in suits.
What to expect in a virtual mediation
Here are some key parts of the virtual mediation process:
- Each party prepares and exchanges a mediation brief via e-mail before the mediation date, so that facts, issues, and positions are known in advance.
- A secure online platform such as Zoom is used to conduct the virtual mediation session. The meeting can be locked to ensure privacy and prevent someone else from unexpectedly joining.
- Parts of the mediation, including the opening session, will be done with all parties and the mediator in the same virtual “room.” Parties and their legal counsel can then have private, confidential discussions in separate breakout “rooms” as needed, which the mediator can join and “shuttle” between.
- Documents can be shared and edited in real time using screen sharing. If settlement is reached, Minutes of Settlement can be circulated and signed remotely.
Do you have questions about mediating your ICBC claim?
Surrey/Delta, Vancouver, Burnaby and Abbotsford office appointments are available, as are virtual appointments over Zoom, if you have questions about virtual mediation of your personal injury lawsuit. Simpson, Thomas & Associates has considerable experience handling all types of ICBC claims. Call us on 604-689-8888 to set up your free legal consultation, or schedule online at simpsonthomas.com/contact.