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Meeting Halfway: Mediation Negotiations

September 13, 2020

When you’ve become injured in an act of negligence, beginning and seeing through a personal injury case is stressful for everyone and not at all a mentally easy process. However we thankfully have personal injury attorneys to help us with organizing and sorting out the process in such a manner that is easy for us to digest and participate in. A personal injury attorney, like from Eric Roy Law Firm, will examine the case and discuss with you the paths it could take. And contrary to popular belief, a personal injury case isn’t as straightforward as you might think and there are in fact, many paths that a personal injury lawsuit could take. The most well-known path is a trial, where a judge has power and influence over the outcome of the case. Also, twelve jurors make the decision on the outcome of the case with the two parties having no say in the result.

Then there is another path: the path of mediation. Mediation is sometimes ordered by the court to be completed after the discovery process, but before pre-trial. Being an informal process, it’s an attempt at resolution where a third party conducts a discussion to try and coax a voluntary resolution between the two sides before a trial is considered.

Unlike a trial, the two parties are usually held in two separate rooms with the plaintiff, defendant, their respective attorney’s, the defendant’s insurance adjuster, and the mediator all involved in this process. Before the mediation materials and information regarding the case is given to the mediator, by which time the mediation begins, information must be kept confidential unless the parties have agreed upon its disclosure though it should be mentioned that most mediations are more likely to be successful when both parties have all the information.

As the discussion is conducted and settlement amounts are offered, usually the two sides will have different views on how the case should be resolved. For the insurance adjuster, their driving force is protecting the assets of the company and less so to actually help those they’re actually insuring. For the client of the attorney, their driving force is emotion and less so reason. The personal injury attorney tries to help bridge the gap between each different motivation by promoting evidence-based logic and practicality to all individuals involved. The mediator’s job is to keep both parties interested in coming to a resolution before pre-trial and subsequently, trial.

As mentioned before, mediations are more successful when more information is shared, but also when done as early as possible, a client is more likely to reconsider an expensive lawsuit if he or she has more time to think about it.