Woodland Hills personal injury and car accident attorney Barry P. Goldberg is a very strong believer in mediation in every case possible. Mediation serves many purposes even if a case cannot be resolved. On behalf of my clients, I always agree to mediation when offered by the opposing party, usually an insurance company. I always answer “I cannot think of a reason why we would not want to talk settlement!”
Even though I am eager to mediate my cases, it does not mean that I will settle every case at mediation. In fact, for mediation to yield the best results, the case and the client must be really “ready” to mediate. This usually occurs after the parties have conducted a significant amount of discovery and the positions of the parties is crystal clear.
For mediation to be successful, I strongly recommend that the claimant be fully prepared for the mediation. I make it a habit to physically meet with my client at least a week before the mediation to prepare. In this meeting, the client learns the benefits of a mediated settlement, the process that takes place at the mediation, the expected range of values, the negotiating strategies, and the role that the client will play in the mediation.
My office always files and serves a comprehensive mediation brief containing exhibits and attachments. In a typical car accident case, a mediator wants to see the extent of property damage, pictures of injuries, significant medical reports and a meaningful breakdown of the medical and other specials. We always summarize the settlement status which lets the mediator know the exact outer perimeters of a possible settlement. Often, my office will serve a second confidential brief for the mediator’s eyes only which identifies “tricky” areas of the case, nuances about my client or the defendant.
I love telling the mediator at the outset that my client is fully prepared and has granted me specific authority in order to settle the case. In addition, I enlist the mediator to fight for as much money as possible in the case by gently suggesting that my client will not be “the problem.” Settlement or not, a reasonable neutral evaluation is good for my client and especially important for an insurance company evaluation.
So, when Woodland Hills personal injury attorney Barry P. Goldberg is asked, “Do you want to go to mediation?” The answer is always “Yes, Please!”