Articles Tagged with mediation

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meeting-2710211_1280-300x154Over the next couple weeks, I’ll be backpacking with my oldest son. I’m trying to spend as much time as possible with him before he leaves for college in the Fall. So, I will be out of the office and not writing as much. In my absence, I’m posting a brief slideshow presenting four reasons why personal injury mediations fail.

At our firm, we follow a specific philosophy of preparing every single case as if it will go to trial. In a world of billboard lawyers who never step foot in a courtroom (and probably never have), our philosophy is different. We want to develop every aspect of the case so we can maximize the potential. It’s a slower approach. But, we believe the rewards in quality and recovery are far, far greater.

What is a mediation? In many personal injury cases, the court or defense lawyer will suggest a mediation. Mediation is a meeting where both sides sit down with a mediator who works to resolve the case or dispute. Typically, the mediator puts each side in a separate room. He or she then moves back-and-forth between the parties trying to get them closer in position. It’s non-binding. The mediator is NOT deciding the case. So, you can leave a mediation at any time and move forward. When our clients are being treated unfairly and unjustly, we stop the mediation and continue working the case toward trial.

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meeting-room-10270_1920-300x225I started to title this post Four Reasons Why Personal Injury Mediations Fail (And One Reason Why They Should Fail). That title is too long. So, I’ll primarily address four reasons why personal injury mediations do NOT succeed. Then, I’ll end with some commentary about an occasion when mediations should fail.

Our law firm philosophy is clear. We prepare all cases for trial. We believe preparation leads to better long-term results both at trial and settlement. When we survey all the lawyers mass-advertising on billboards, television and radio, it is clear many attorneys view matters differently. Those mass-advertising lawyers are usually about quantity rather than quality. That’s a sad commentary on our profession.

Let me return to my discussion of personal injury mediations. What are some reasons why a personal injury mediation may fail? Here are four:

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Years ago, an engineer friend of mine served on a jury in a personal injury case. Later, he told me that during the entire process he (and several other jurors) believed information was not being provided them. They were right. Sometimes evidence is not admitted at trial and not seen by the jury. Our evidence rules are designed to prevent evidence that is not relevant or too prejudicial from being considered. But, sometimes the same rules also prevent the jury from hearing evidence needed to tell the full story.

If you have been hurt and need a lawyer, you need one with trial experience. Procedural and evidentiary rules can be complex. Your lawyer needs to know the rules and how to apply them quickly in trial situations. Unfortunately, many of the lawyers now advertising for automobile accident cases do not go to court. Some have never been to trial. They would not know how to argue a case effectively in a courtroom. Insurance companies know which lawyers will go to trial and it impacts the settlement offered you. When hiring a lawyer, you should absolutely ask questions about real trial experience.

What is one big issue kept secret from the jury? At trial, the jury is never told that the defendant actually has insurance. The rules in Alabama, and many other jurisdictions, forbid the jury from being informed about the defendant’s insurance coverage.