Mediating Personal Injury Claims

In a case where an innocent victim is victimized by the negligence of a third party, whether it be as a result of the negligent acts of a truck driver or due to medical malpractice committed by a doctor, a question often arises: Should a claimant in such a case consider mediation as a way of resolving their claims against the negligent defendant? Experience indicates that mediation is successful approximately eighty percent (80%) of the time so logic would dictate that all serious personal injury claimants should consider mediation as an alternative to litigation.
Over the years, we have been involved in hundreds of mediations here at our firm. Our experience bears out that approximately eighty percent (80%) of all cases submitted to mediation do settle. Thus, we do recommend that our clients seriously consider attending a mediation prior to proceeding to a jury trial. Jury trials are fraught with uncertainty and reasonable minds many times can differ over what would be a fair and just result in any given case. At mediation, the parties deciding the dispute are the parties themselves as opposed to twelve (12) lay persons who are strangers to the dispute. There are advantages for the parties to settle amongst themselves because not only does this save the time and expense of a jury trial, the parties themselves are usually much more familiar with the facts than would be twelve (12) lay persons sitting in a jury box. Thus, as a general proposition, we recommend that all of our clients consider mediation as a possible way to resolve a personal injury case against a negligent third party. As stated, it does not matter whether the case involves medical malpractice, products liability, wrongful death, a trucking accident, a car accident or any other serious injury tort case. As long as the parties are voluntarily willing to submit their claims to a mediation, there is always the possibility of a settlement, which if the terms of the settlement are fair and just, can be preferable to proceeding to trial. Of course, we continue to advocate that the best way to get the best result for any client is to be prepared to present the case to a jury so that all parties at the mediation will know that counsel is prepared to obtain a just result for his/her client unless the case is settled for a reasonable sum at mediation.

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