There are a number of options for a case to settle prior to trial
Perhaps the best option for settlement is mediation. Mediation is a process by which the parties agree to meet with
a third-party mediator, a person who has no vested interest in the outcome of a case. Mediators are often attorneys skilled in
the art of negotiation.
The cost of a mediation is usually equally borne by the parties. In a personal injury case, the Plaintiff’s
attorney bears the Plaintiff’s cost of mediation as an expense related to the case.
Mediation usually lasts for several hours, but can last an entire day or more, depending on the significance of the case, and how
close the parties are to negotiating a result. Everything that occurs in mediation is completely confidential, meaning that nothing
that either party says during mediation may be used in Court. This confidentiality exists in order to encourage both sides to
participate in the discussion of resolving the conflict, without either side worrying about what they say being used against
A significant upside to mediation is that it allows the parties themselves to control the outcome of a given situation.
The only award a jury can make is a monetary award. In mediation, sometimes other outcomes can occur which can be more
meaningful than money alone. A good mediator will help the parties think "outside the box" with regard to possible ways to resolve
the case. Mediators are trained to work with very difficult situations, and can sometimes suggest a resolution to the dispute that
even the attorneys, and the parties themselves, did not contemplate.
Ultimately, it is up to the parties, in consultation with their attorneys, as to whether to agree to settle a
case at mediation, based on the terms negotiated by the mediator.
As a general rule, greater than 80% of all civil injury cases settle at mediation.
The Bargar Law Firm has used the mediation process to settle many lawsuits prior to trial.