Enforcing the Settlement You Achieved Through Mediation in Your Massachusetts Auto Accident Case

There can be many different ways that you can be hurt in an auto accident in Massachusetts. You may be a passenger in a vehicle whose driver was at fault in an accident, you may be a driver struck by another driver, or you may be a driver who hits some other object, like farm animals. Regardless of how your case begins, there are many ways to achieve a successful outcome, including negotiation and settlement, mediation, or a trial and judgment. In any situation, it pays to have a skilled Massachusetts car accident attorney on your side to protect your rights and help you navigate the system to get a fair recovery for you.

One case that involved mediation and a settlement was the lawsuit filed by Maureen, a driver who suffered serious injuries as a result of a single-car accident in Worcester County. Maureen crashed into two cows that had wandered away from a nearby farm and onto the road. Maureen brought a lawsuit against the farmers – a husband and wife pair – who owned the cows that Maureen’s vehicle struck. In Massachusetts, the law requires owners of livestock animals to keep their animals properly contained inside a pen or fence. Since the farmers’ cows were in the road, Maureen’s case was that they weren’t properly fenced in, that this failure amounted to negligence on the part of the farmers, and that, because of their negligence, the farmers were liable for the damages the accident caused to Maureen.

As occurs in many cases, Maureen’s case against the farmers went to mediation. The mediation was a success, and the two sides reached a set of mutually acceptable terms. Maureen signed the agreement, as did the husband. The attorney who represented both the husband and the wife signed as well.

When the farmers didn’t pay the agreed-upon amount stated in the settlement, Maureen filed an action in court to obtain an order compelling the farmers to pay. The court sided with Maureen and ordered the farmers to pay the woman $40,000, plus $4,300 in attorneys’ fees.

The farmers appealed this ruling. The basis of their appeal was a very technical argument. They asserted that, since the wife never signed the settlement agreement, it was not enforceable. The appeals court rejected this argument. The obvious implication of the mediation process was that any agreement reached would be one governing all of the parties. Given that the lawyer for both farmers signed, and the husband signed, the sole fact that the wife didn’t sign did not give the farmers the entitlement not to pay the settlement.

In your injury case, your opponent will likely be well-prepared to use all legal means possible to defeat your case and recovery. You need to be prepared as well, by having a knowledgeable and experienced attorney on your side to fight for you. Hardworking Plymouth County car accident lawyer Michael S. Mehrmann has been providing that kind of representation for many years. Our team is proud to assist and represent injured drivers, passengers, and pedestrians from across Plymouth County, including in Kingston, Plymouth, Marshfield, Hanson, Carver, Pembroke, and Duxbury. To find out more about how we can help you, call (781) 585-3911 or contact us online.