When I ask clients about the goal of the mediation process, they often respond that the goal is to “settle the case.”
For most of our personal injury cases, the goal of mediation is to get the defendant and insurance company to offer as much money to settle the case as they’re ever going to pay. We want to find out the maximum amount that they have and to get them to put it on the table.
If it settles the case, great. But, it may not settle the case. Far too frequently, insurance companies offer amounts that will never be enough to settle the case. And that’s okay. Because even if it’s too little to settle, at least you’ve learned information that can help you to go forward and you’ve given it your best shot to resolve the case.
What you don’t want to do is complete the mediation without settling, go do a bunch of work and incur a lot of expenses on the case, and then have the insurance company offer a little bit more down the road at a later time. Because later on, even with an increased offer, the client might receive less from the settlement because of the additional expenses incurred in pursuing the case.
Now, if a lot of additional work is necessary to convince them to pay more, that’s okay. But you don’t want to leave the mediation without knowing the other side’s bottom line for the day.
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