The vast majority of personal injury cases end up settling before they head to trial. A lot of those cases are resolved through mediation. By working with a neutral third-party mediator, you may be able to position your company in a way that allows you to avoid the large payout that otherwise may be ordered if a case goes to trial. In other words, mediation can significantly reduce your risk.
That said, mediations are hard fought in their own way. Oftentimes, each party ends up jockeying for position, and negotiations sometimes stall as a result. That’s why you need to be thoroughly prepared before heading into your mediation. Here are a few steps that you can take to do that:
- Know how much time you’re going to need: A mediation that has insufficient time is pointless, as it disallows you from reaching resolution. Therefore, consider the complexities of the case at hand and do your best to anticipate how much time you need to try to resolve the case.
- Have the right people at the table: If you want to resolve your case at mediation, then you need to have decision-makers at the table. So, make sure you understand who those individuals are and ensure their presence during settlement talks.
- Consider conferencing with the mediator beforehand: The role of the mediator is to help the parties talk through their issues and find common ground. But going into the mediation blindly can make it challenging for the mediator to navigate the landscape of the case. That’s why it might be beneficial to you to speak to the mediator beforehand to give him or her a sense of your position and where you see obstacles to resolution.
- Disclose insurance issues: If there are claim coverage issues involved in the case, then you should make sure that those matters are disclosed to the other side. This will ensure that there are no surprises at the mediation, and everyone is ready to discuss the best way to reach resolution.
- Have a settlement agreement prepared: By preparing a settlement agreement ahead of time, you may be better positioned to shape the negotiations, and you may be able to save time.
- Have a command of the facts: Ultimately, you’re going to need to present your position in a persuasive fashion if you want the other side to move closer to where you’re willing to settle. This is best accomplished by presenting the evidence that is most favorable to you and pointing out the risks that the plaintiff will be taking by moving forward with trial. Therefore, before heading into mediation, make sure that you know all of the facts in play and how to use them to bolster your arguments. You’ll also want a full understanding of the law, such as contributory negligence, and how it applies to your case.
Hard work on the front end can save you time and money
Although you need a competent litigator on your side as you prepare your insurance defense, you also need someone who can help you prepare for alternative dispute resolution. After all, effective negotiations can save you time, money, and a lot of stress.
Therefore, as you prepare to defend your company against a personal injury claim, you may want to consider working with a skilled insurance defense law firm that knows how to craft the legal strategies that you need on your side. If you’d like to learn more about how our firm has helped clients do just that, then please continue to browse our website.