When A Case Does Not Settle At Mediation
Through years of handling Massachusetts personal injury cases, I have found mediation to be a very effective tool for resolving accident cases that may or may not be in litigation.
Mediation is a process whereby the parties to a legal dispute agree to sit down with a mediator in an effort to resolve their dispute. A mediator is a third-party neutral attorney who helps disputing parties resolve their differences and to come to an acceptable resolution.
Around 90% of cases that go to mediation settle. But what about the other 10%? Did those parties that went to mediation and failed to settle their case waste their time? Absolutely not. Here’s why:
Whenever a case goes to mediation it allows the parties to come away with a better idea on how the other side sees the case. Mediation also provides an opportunity for each side to rethink how they view their own case. It therefore forces everyone to really examine the case as a whole, and how a jury may interpret and decide the case should it go to trial.
A mediation that does not result in a settlement is not a failure because there was likely great progress made at the mediation. For example, if the case involves a car accident claim, there likely were negotiations at the mediation that got the parties closer to a number they both may evening agree on.
Also, a failed mediation also allowed the parties time to actually sit down and talk to one another. That in and of itself is productive. A lawsuit at its core puts people against one another. A mediation is a collaborative forum that encourages the parties to talk freely to each other in a cooperative environment. That allows the parties to hear each other out. That can break down walls and get the parties to come closer to resolution, even if the case does not settle at mediation, perhaps sometime in the future.