When you have an injury claim, there is a good chance that your case will go to alternative dispute resolution. Another name for alternative dispute resolution is mediation. The purpose of mediation is to provide the parties with a neutral and professional environment to explore the possibilities of resolving the case without going to trial.
Mediation is not appropriate for all cases, but it can be a useful tool in many cases. Even difficult cases can be resolved in mediation. There are some things that you and your personal injury attorney can do to get the most out of mediation, so that you have the best possible chance of obtaining a fair resolution in your case. Here are 10 tips to get the most out of alternative dispute resolution.
Know what you are asking for
When you go to a mediation session, you are asking the other party to agree to a fair settlement. That makes it essential to know exactly what resolution you are looking for.
You should work with your injury attorney to determine what you think an appropriate settlement should be . You should be prepared to justify your request with evidence and arguments that show why your request is fair and supported by law.
Determine what the disagreements are
The defense has the opportunity to explain why they do not agree with the settlement you are seeking. You can get the most out of alternative dispute resolution by trying to identify these issues before mediation begins.
When you know what the sticking points might be, you can think about how you will respond to them if they arise during your mediation session.
Schedule the mediation session carefully
How scheduling mediation can impact whether it is successful. The parties must reserve a full day for their mediation session. You should make sure that neither you nor the other party have anything planned for the day of mediation that could distract you from the task at hand.
You should make plans for childcare for the entire day. Even a large event such as a sporting event can distract one or both parties from fully participating in the mediation session. Avoiding distractions can help you get the most out of alternative conflict resolution.
Make sure you have what you need
It is important to make sure you have what you need for mediation. You should have paper, a few pens, water, tissues, and snacks. You must dress for cold air conditioning or hot weather. Having the things you need for mediation can help you stay focused. When you are comfortable, you can focus on the case.
Make sure the other side has someone present with authority to resolve the case
You must ensure that both parties present at your alternate dispute resolution session have the authority to agree to an agreement. The defense persons with the official authority to resolve the case should be there to hear it.
They shouldn’t have to make phone calls to talk to another person. Your attorney can help ensure that the other parties go to mediation with the authority to fully resolve the case.
Know what your absolutes are and know where you can compromise
Resolving a personal injury case is a matter of knowing what your priorities are. It is important to work with your attorney prior to your mediation session to determine what you want to get out of the session.
You can have some things that are absolute and you can have compromise points. Your attorney can help you determine where to stand firm and where you could be flexible.
Use a group
In a mediation session, you can talk to the mediator while the other party is in the room, but sometimes it is helpful to sit with your attorney in one room while the other party is in another room.
The mediator can go back and forth between rooms. When you meet with the mediator separately, it is called a committee. A committee can be helpful so that you can gather your ideas and speak frankly with your attorney during the mediation session.
If you settle the case, sign the agreement the same day
When you come to a resolution, the best thing to do is have all parties sign on the dotted line before leaving. When both parties sign a written agreement, it is enforceable. The other side cannot change its mind.
If you don’t have access to a computer and printer to write the agreement, you can write it in pen and have the parties sign it. Signing the agreement the same day makes it final and enforceable.
Keep an open mind
If your case is not resolved by the time you get to mediation, you can assume that it will never be resolved. An experienced attorney knows that even a complicated case can be resolved during mediation. Going to mediation believing that a resolution is possible can help you reach an agreement.
Remember you are in the driver’s seat
Ultimately, it is up to you to decide whether to resolve the case in mediation. Mediation is a voluntary process. You don’t have to sign an agreement if you don’t want to.
If you think it is in your best interest to take the case to trial, you can decline an offer to settle in mediation and continue with the case. Always keep in mind that you are in control of the outcome of your mediation session. Knowing that you do not have to agree to an agreement can help you explore all the possibilities in mediation.
How can an injury lawyer help?
Alternative dispute resolution is an art form. Working with an injury attorney can give you the benefit of having experience on your side. From choosing your mediator to helping you prepare a mediation strategy, your attorney can help you make the most of alternative dispute resolution.
While you are ultimately in control of the outcome of your personal injury claim , an attorney can provide you with the experience you need to ensure that you get the most out of alternative dispute resolution for a fair settlement.