Based on Jeremy’s many years of experience with trials and settlements, he has found that the following advice is particularly helpful for plaintiffs.
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.
Too many plaintiffs adopt the approach that, once a lawyer is hired they should sit back and passively watch from a distance. Remember, this is your case! At mediation, you are making the decisions and signing the settlement documents. You cannot make the best decisions for yourself without understanding the strengths and weaknesses of your case. You would not undergo surgery without first knowing the probable outcome as well as the risks. The same rationale applies to resolving your litigation.
It is very difficult to appreciate and accept the weaknesses of your case. Emotions are understandably high, but if you do not settle, and you proceed to trial, the judge or jury will assess your claims based on the strengths and weaknesses, as presented by your lawyer and the opposing lawyer.
When preparing for mediation, your lawyer should talk with you about the evidence and how it can be interpreted. The same evidence is often open to different interpretations, and you must recognize this. The insurance company defending your claim should be doing the same thing.
Mediation is far more likely to end in a successful settlement when you and the insurance company make informed and reasoned decisions. If you review Jeremy’s Mediation Process you will see how he helps each side prepare and then work together through the mediation session.