Many professions use specialized shorthand and jargon to convey complex internal concepts. In some instances, these words are the same as common phrases and sayings but with new meaning attached.
First, let’s discuss the term “mediation”. Mediation in the workplace is about arriving at a solution that is favorable and letting multiple parties speak their mind. In the legal world, mediation tends to be a loaded word, one fraught with tension and tinged with the undercurrent of an espionage novel.
A pre-trial mediation on the outside, looks like it is about establishing useful information to arrive at a swift and beneficial settlement that saves time for the legal teams and shields the defendant. In reality, it is much more a sizing-up where weaknesses are sought, and information ferreted out.
Mediation and Discovery
Early mediation revolves around sizing up the competition and looking for details. Both legal teams want to put on a strong face and indicate that they have the stronger case.
Early mediation tends to favor the defense, as they usually hold more information that needs to be requested during discovery. For a plaintiff’s team, an early mediation represents a chance to weigh the kind of iceberg a case will turn into.
Clients are not often brought in on early mediation, though this is by practice and not a rule.
In some instances, settlement offers are made in the first mediation, often a low-ball number to get the case over with and usually in the best interest of the defense.
Settlements offers are common throughout a personal injury case both in pretrial and even after a trial has begun. The decision to accept or reject a settlement is difficult and the more offers, the m ore likely a plaintiff is to want to take a sum and be done.
Pre-trial settlements often come with additional strings including non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) or documentation absolving the defendant of fault for future damages.
Trials take time and plaintiffs don’t always feel confident or able to continue. A responsible, experienced legal team weighs the burden of the trial against the possibility of a better outcome and educates their clients accordingly.
Mediations take many different forms and the participants involved indicate potential strategies. For example, an arbiter or magistrate attending a mediation. This is common when a minor is involved or if there is some question about legal standing for the parties.
The clients being present, conversely, is about a meeting of minds and a resolution to the matter.
Mediations lack many of the formalities, and safeguards, of a trial so they are used to test the waters of arguments or facts that are in dispute.
Mediation, while a common occurrence in a personal injury case, is a less-understood element of the tort process. Preparation and strategy remain key tools in using mediations for the benefit of clients.
Contact us to learn more about your options and to gain support in your legal battle. We’re here to help.