Based on Jeremy’s many years of experience with trials and settlements, he has found that the following advice is helpful for insurers.
Mediation can be a very effective method of resolving litigation, provided the litigants prepare well in advance and approach negotiations with a willingness to identify and accept that every dispute has both strengths and weaknesses. Jeremy has found that the most important requirements for reaching a successful settlement are educated clients and thorough preparation.
Litigants often become entrenched in their own views of the evidence, which can lead to difficulty in reaching an agreeable solution. Very often, the Plaintiff is fueled by emotion while the insurer is guided by extraneous economic factors. Common to both parties is the reality that, if the case proceeds to trial, the judge or jury will assess the claims by considering the strengths and weaknesses as presented by the respective lawyers. Therefore, a full and frank review of the evidence with your counsel should be completed before settlement authority is requested. It is critical during your assessment to anticipate the Plaintiff’s interpretation of the evidence and to challenge your lawyer to debate the merits.
Mediation is far more likely to end in a successful settlement when you and the Plaintiff make informed and reasoned decisions. In the event the case is not settled, you will also be better prepared for pre-trial, further settlement discussions and trial.