A Guide to Preparing for Personal Injury Mediation
Wednesday, December, 26, 2012
Personal injury mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) that can save all parties involved a lot of money and time in reaching a resolution. If both sides agree to it and are willing to work through the personal injury dispute in a calm, rational manner, mediation is—by far—better than litigation (taking a case to court).
Once both sides have agreed to participate in personal injury mediation, it is important to prepare for it just as if you were preparing for a court trial. This does two things: first, it allows you to present all applicable evidence at the mediation table to allow both the mediation and the other side to see the situation realistically from your point of view; second, it allows the other side with whom you are in a dispute to see that you are ready and able to take the prepared evidence to court if the mediation proceedings are not successful in reaching a satisfactory resolution.
In the case of personal injury mediation, the insurance company representative that will be sitting down with you at the mediation table will likely be the claims representative from the company. In many cases, this is the first opportunity that the claims representative has to sit down face-to-face with the person who has been personally injured. Often, this quality of face time helps make the matter more personal to the insurance company, who (until now) has only seen the injured victim as a name and policy number.
Besides this “face time,” one of the most important benefits of mediation is that it allows the personal injury victim the opportunity to explain to the insurance company that if the settlement is not reached at the mediation table, he or she is ready and able to take the case to litigation. Often, this threat of litigation is enough to make the insurance company more willing to settle a claim that it was unwilling to quickly settle before the mediation proceedings occurred.