Should A Client Agree To Mediation In A Personal Injury Case?

The simple answer to this question is – Yes. Mediation is a tool that is oftentimes successfully used to settle disputes in a variety of contexts including personal injury claims. Whether the case involves breach of contract, employment disputes, medical malpractice, products liability or an automobile accident, mediation has proven to be an effective tool in resolving civil disputes. While it is not always successful, nonetheless, mediation is something that should be considered by virtually any client when trying to resolve a civil dispute. If a reasonable settlement offer is made at mediation, the case can be resolved. If not, the parties can walk away and proceed with a trial by jury.
Here at our firm, of course, we do not prepare cases for mediation, we prepare them for trial. The best way to get a successful settlement result is to demonstrate to the opponent in a civil dispute that if the dispute cannot be amicably resolved a jury is very likely to award a substantial verdict against them. By demonstrating strength to the opponent during the civil litigation process, one increases the chances of getting a fair settlement for their claim. Thus, if we agree to mediation of a particular claim involving a client with a personal injury case, we try to do so with the posture of the case being a demonstration of strength verses weakness in agreeing to submit to a settlement conference. In subsequent blogs, we will describe the mediation process and why it is an effective tool in resolving claims. For the time being, we are simply trying to advocate that in any civil dispute mediation can be used to try to settle the case on an amicable basis by means of compromise. As is true of any other settlement agreement, the key word here is compromise. If both sides are willing to compromise their portion of the case and agree in good faith to negotiate with one another, mediation can be used to successfully resolve a personal injury claim. We caution, however, that an effective attorney will always be extremely prepared and will demonstrate that in the event the mediation is unsuccessful, the opponent will very likely incur increased legal expenses and may very well pay more at a jury trial than they would at a successful settlement. If the case can be settled at mediation for a fair sum – great. If it cannot, a prepared attorney will typically obtain from a jury as much (or more) than could have been obtained earlier at a mediation.

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