Mediation Madness, Tips for Surviving Dispute Resolution

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Mediation Madness, Tips for Surviving Dispute Resolution
Written By: Josh Lowell ~ 9/21/2020

For most types of cases, local courts require mediation. Whether you are involved in a contentious divorce or you locked in battle with a car insurance company seeking reimbursement for your medical bills, mediation is likely a step on the road to trial. Mediation can be time consuming, expensive, and maddening, but the courts typically require it because of one reason – it usually works!

Mediation involves the formal negotiation of a dispute utilizing the services of a trained, third-party neutral party – the mediator. The mediator is often (but not always) an attorney or judge with substantial experience in the area of law relevant to your case. Often, these mediators are just long-time legal experts, they are trained in the art of settling lawsuits. There are courses, schools, and classes dedicated to teaching negotiation tactics that mediators use to help two arguing parties find common ground.

Just because the mediator is experienced does not mean your case will automatically settle. It takes hard work from both the BLOGPOST_MediationRS.jpgclients and the attorneys to ensure that the case has a fair shot at resolution. Mediation can be madness, and as the title of this article suggests, surviving alternative dispute resolution in your divorce or personal injury case may require a steadfast resolve and a good understanding of the game at play. Here are a few tips to consider when entering your mediation:

  1. The first offer is always terrible, so be prepared. No matter who your opponent is, they have one job, to get the best result for their client. They are not going to start out of the gate even close to what you are looking for, so do not let it dishearten you because chances are the case may still resolve.
  2. The mediator is playing both sides of the fence. He may come in and beat you down or tell you the strengths of the case. Guess what? She is likely doing the same thing in the other room. The mediator’s goal is to settle the case and that means playing both rooms against the facts to find common ground.
  3. Settling the case might be dissatisfying, but the risks of trial may be enormous. You might be unhappy with the final resolution at the end of the mediation, but as the mediator will point out, if you don’t win your position at trial, you have likely spent tens of thousands more on attorney and expert fees for nothing. As the adage goes, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
  4. The first few offers rarely matter. My most confusing moment as an attorney was a recent mediation where a client with over $100,000 in medical bills stemming from a neck surgery with another surgery pending was offered $15,000, then, 17,500, then $20,000 to settle her case at mediation. None of it mattered as at the end of the day, the case settled for nearly $500,000.

Mediation is highly successful, which is why the courts and attorneys alike push to get their cases into dispute resolution processes so quickly. Why fight and spends thousands of dollars (or much more) in court when the parties might be able to reach an amicable resolution to end the stress of litigation forever with substantially less risk.

At the law offices of Magnuson Lowell PS, we strive to ensure our clients move along the most successful path possible. That usually entails formal settlement negotiations. Call today for a free case evaluation.

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