When possible, we like to mediate or arbitrate cases instead of going to trial. Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution.
Mediation is an attempt to settle a case at a nonbinding settlement conference where a mediator attempts to get both sides to agree to a settlement when the parties have been previously unsuccessful with settlement attempts.
At the mediation both sides argue their case to a mediator who tries to bring both sides to a settlement. While a non-interested attorney can be a mediator, we only do mediation with a retired Supreme Court judge.
The reason that an accident case can be settled at mediation when it could not be settled before is that it’s difficult for one side to convince the other side of their argument. Insurance companies often look at a personal injury lawyer as being biased when valuing an injury case. However, the suspicion of bias is removed when negotiating with a retired Supreme Court judge.
The insurance company has to agree to mediation but they usually agree to mediate because there is no downside to mediation. The difference between mediation and arbitration is an agreed settlement versus a final decision. At mediation, if both parties don’t agree to settle, your case case continues towards trial. At arbitration, a final decision will be awarded in your case will be finished.
There are many obvious advantages to both us and the insurance company by resolving your claim through mediation instead of trial. Some of the advantages of mediation are as follows:
- Mediation can shorten your case by years.
- Mediation usually takes one hour while a trial usually takes two weeks. After experiencing two weeks of stress at trial, clients usually say they never want to do that again.
- Mediation can save you $15,000-$25,000 in trial expenses which is paid back from the money you receive.
- We only mediate using retired Supreme Court judges who know accident cases and their values better than anyone.
- After trial, juries often award too much or too little. When they award too much, the amount is usually reduced by the trial judge, reduced on appeal, or settled for much less after appealing. If your case goes to appeal, it will be decided by three judges instead of a jury and your legal fees can go to 50%.
- Mediation is NOT binding and NOT final.
There is no award or decision at a mediation. If you do not agree to accept the insurance company offer, you do not have to settle. Likewise, the insurance company does not have to agree to accept our demand or the amount of money the judge recommends they pay.
We have settled approximately 50% of our cases which have gone to mediation. Often, the cases which do not settle at mediation may settle within a month or two after the mediation because of the discussions held at the mediation.
The insurance companies do not usually require a deposition or physical exam prior to doing mediation.
Mediation is great any accident case even for serious injury and large catastrophic injury cases because you don’t have to accept the settlement offer. We usually use one of the retired Supreme Court judges at National Arbitration and Mediation which has many seven-figure settlements with some as high as $17,900,000.