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I Have an Automobile Accident Case. Should I Go to Mediation?

Mediation is a practical way of resolving differences on valuation of an automobile accident case. Clients or their auto accident attorneys may want a significantly higher value than an insurance company or the adjuster for an insurance company is willing to consider. It is not unusual for a claimant to seek the maximium recovery for the wrongs done to them while an insurance company wants to save as much money as possible.

A mediator provides meaningful ways of obtaining a settlement without the necessity of trial. There are several keys to ensuring your mediation a successful. An auto accident lawyer should understand and put these recommendations to work for you.

First make sure the mediator is well prepared. Mediators need to be provided documentation of the claim, damages and injury. Additionally, you should be prepared to answer questions at mediation. We want our clients to make a good impression with the mediator, so the mediator is motivated to help settle the case. It is difficult to motivate the mediator to help a client that is perceived as greedy, or unrealistic. Therefore, we meet with every client before mediation to discuss their case, liability, damages and how they should participate at the mediation.

I like to make sure that a mediator is a participant in the process of offer and acceptance. For instance, when we go to the mediator with an offer to the other side, we like to have the mediator give us his thoughts. It is not enough for the mediator to simply act as a conduit, but you actually confirm that he agrees with our position taken, and that the position is justified. In this way, the mediator can extract information from the other side in response to any offers or in the conveyance of any offers and can push the other side to be fair if we are acting in good faith.

We ask the mediator to explain offers completely. We don't want to simply receive a settlement number on a piece of paper, but rather the reason for the number, then the terms of settlement. The mediator should also convey to us what they see and hear during their discussions with other side if they do not violate confidentiality. Lastly, it is important that the mediator continue to interact with the attorneys after mediation or a settlement is near in the case. Sometimes it's simply impossible to settle with the insurance companies at the mediation.

In personal injury matters involving automobile accident collisions, mediation is a valuable and underutilized technique in the resolution of personal injury claims. We invite our clients to participate in any mediation option as long as there is a good faith effort from both parties to try to work hard to reach a fair resolution of settlement. If you have an auto accident case in Los Angeles or Orange County, call us so we can help.

We can discuss with you your options in settlement, the potential for settlement and your medical treatment,injuries and damages. Call us at (888) 752-7474 at your earliest convenience.

by Suzanne Leslie

Suzanne Leslie has been practicing personal injury law for over 25 years with the firm of Allen Flatt Ballidis & Leslie.

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