You are probably aware that 95% of all injury cases settle rather than going to a jury verdict. There are various reasons why both sides have a stake in trying to resolve an injury case for a fair number rather than risk going to trial.
So what is the #1 best way to resolve your case for the most amount of money?
MEDIATION– That is clearly the wave of the future for injury cases. What is involved in this is after a lawsuit is filed, or sometimes even before that, the insurance company will call your attorney. They will say they have an interest in trying to resolve this matter rather than either going to trial or having a lawsuit filed. This is like a jackpot phone call and bells should be going off at that point. Why? Because that means the insurance company is very interested in closing out this case. The question then becomes how do you maximize your value in mediation?
This really is when an experienced attorney can help you immensely. Pittsburgh wrongful death and auto accident attorney Bernie Tully has done approximately 150 mediations over the years in injury cases that have been in litigation or even before the case is settled.
What is involved is that both sides agree to a “neutral arbitrator” who has no stake in the outcome of the case. They are just there to help or facilitate a settlement of the claim. They are not pro-plaintiff or pro-insurance company oriented. That is their real value because they don’t have a stake in the outcome of the case. The mediator then attempts to work with both sides in finding a common number that everyone can agree to.
Suppose, for example, you are rear ended in an auto accident and need to have back surgery. Suppose you had to have a plate and pins inserted in your back. Suppose, also, that you feel the value of your case is $250,000. The insurance company may be feeling that the case is worth $100,000. How do you bridge that gap? That is the job of the mediator and they usually do a very good job of moving the parties toward resolution.
Now, an experienced attorney, knowing that you want to settle your case for $250,000, is likely to request $500,000 as a negotiating position. Then the mediator will try to work with that number and see what the insurance company is willing to pay initially at the mediation. They may say $75,000. Believe it or not, that is a good starting range so that it is down to a number both sides can live with.
So, why not just try do it yourself without an attorney. I will tell you in tomorrow’s blog.
Thanks for reading.
Bernie the attorney