Settling individual injury claims is typically the best option, especially when done through mediation. Sometimes the mediations are voluntary between the parties, and at other times, mediation is required for a personal injury case before it is given a trial date by the court.
Mastering personal injury mediation requires readiness, perseverance, patience, and a desire from the parties to agree. One other essential step for a successful mediation is the open exchange of info between both parties. While a mediator does not necessarily need to have a lot of experience, they do need to understand the fundamentals and intricacies of settling personal injury cases through mediation.
Complicated cases, especially if one of the parties feels that they must “win” or hesitates to negotiate and/or compromise, make the mediation process tough.
The following seven articles from experienced personal injury litigators can help you settle even the most complicated cases. Watch out for our next release!
For the most part, the two opposing parties will have different views about how the settlement process should go. Sometimes they are so far apart, it feels like it will be impossible to settle. However, keep in mind that most times, disagreements are not based on logic, but rather on irrational feelings and emotions.
This polarization is why personal injury mediation is typically required.
Getting both parties to the table is the ideal opportunity to get the parties to remove their emotions from the settlement process. The objective is to get both parties to be reasonable and accept a resolution that works for everyone.
When the two parties first begin a settlement discussion, naturally, there will be major differences in viewpoint about who was responsible and the initial settlement amounts. However, it is up to the mediator to keep the parties focused on a resolution. This is best achieved by encouraging the parties to stay focused on the important issues.
If cases were mediated from the start, that would be ideal. However, many individuals tend to leave mediation until they are faced with a deadline or possibly about to go to trial. In general, the earlier the mediation occurs, the faster the complainant will have the ability to reevaluate a costly suit. If the plaintiff requires an early resolution for financial factors, then accelerated, mediations are required in that instance. The earlier the two opposing parties or attorneys make the preparations; the earlier mediation can happen.
Court-mandated personal injury mediations are a chance to exchange vital info, update discovery documents, and open the way for future negotiations if required.
In some instances, speaking candidly to the opposing counsel can help you learn if their side is ready to settle the case. The mediator can have a personal talk with both parties to see if they are ready to deal with the matter.
There is a rarely discussed advantage to mediation, in situations where both parties are intractable. Get the other party talking, this is an “off the official record” opportunity to hear what cards they are holding and see what their strategy might be in court. Not only will you, as the victim, have practice speaking in a legal setting (which is far harder than you would think), but you also get to hear what they are likely to drag up in court, and begin to prepare for those arguments early.
A mediator should be chosen according to their certifications, experience, and mediation approaches. Personal injury mediation styles often vary, and some mediators are facilitators and avoid giving their opinions. On the contrary, some mediators are evaluators who express their viewpoints and opinions based on the merits of the case. In general, hiring an arbitrator who combines the two styles is typically the best. Furthermore, litigators prefer to use a mediator that is approved by the other side. Opposing parties are most likely to accept mediation if they rely on the mediator. Any prior professional or personal relationships with the mediator should be revealed.
The attorneys, mediators, and injured parties should have a pre-mediation conversation to help prepare for the mediation. Issues that should be discussed include ensuring sufficient time is reserved for the mediation, setting a date to exchange relevant documents, how the process will be carried out, and the joint discussion.
Both parties should likewise make certain that the person with the authority to enter into a settlement agreement is present at the mediation.
A litigator can likewise make a personal call to the mediator to convey details about the client that could affect the mediation. In general, the better prepared the mediator is, the easier it will be to settle the case.
There are no simple or hard cases when it pertains to mediation. Frequently a lawyer feels the case is “easy”; however, settlement negotiations can drag out, and vice versa. Mediations require an open mind, perseverance, and patience.
The most experienced attorneys advise dedicating an entire day to mediation. Often the mediator needs to speak separately with both parties about issues like the risks of litigation before they can even start the process.
Personal Injury Mediations are not court procedures, and injured parties may not understand this.
The very best way to prepare your client is in person with your attorney. You need to be advised that the mediator is a neutral third party and facilitates settlement.
As the injured party, you need to likewise understand that you need to be constantly, reasonable, and ready to agree when the other side is right about certain issues. You must also avoid making false statements or risk harming your credibility by getting aggressive or mad easily.
A fair and reasonable discussion about at least two different amounts that they are willing to settle at is likewise important. Sage words of advice to victims in car accident proceedings are “less is more”. If you are asked an open-ended question, that might lead to you talking on and on about something, perhaps revealing holes in your legal argument armor, that works for the other side, not for you. Don’t be afraid to ask the mediator, or the other side to “rephrase the question” to get as close as possible to a Yes or No answer, and don’t be afraid to give only a Yes or No answer. This advice is even more important in court.
Legal matters can be complicated and overwhelming, and attempting to navigate them on your own can often lead to unfavorable outcomes. That’s where the lawyers at Shapiro | Delgado comes in. With our track record of success and commitment to client satisfaction, we are a top choice for anyone seeking legal representation in the areas of personal injury. We meticulously prepare each case as if it were going to trial as this often increases the probability of obtaining a more favorable settlement outcome. Our lawyers will work tirelessly to help you achieve your legal goals and protect your rights.