As a personal injury lawyer from the Seattle, Washington area, you understand the advantages of personal injury mediation. Whether your client is the one who suffered injury or the individual who allegedly injured someone else, taking the time to schedule a meeting prior to mediation to discuss the process will increase the chances of settling the case. The most stressful part of personal injury litigation for many clients is being unaware of the different stages in a case. By keeping your clients well informed throughout the process, they will be able to focus on finalizing the dispute.
In preparing for mediation, go back through the facts of the case with your client, starting at the date of injury. Review things like medical records, medical bills, lost wage forms, and other such documentation with them. Go back over relevant pleadings, discovery, and other legal documents and refresh yourselves as to what the opposing side has argued. It is a good idea to schedule this meeting at least a week prior to mediation so that you or your client can track down any missing documentation that will be useful at mediation.
After you have gone through the facts of the case, talk about what your client’s goals are for the mediation. Be sure to explain to your client why or why not certain proposed settlement terms are realistic. This will help your client understand the strengths and weaknesses in the case, and where compromise is probably necessary. Such a discussion will make settlement much more likely.
Remember to explain the mediation process and how your mediator usually handles the process. Discuss the role of the mediator, the various privacy guarantees, what may be discussed, and what happens if settlement is not reached.