I’m writing this post both as a federal mediator and as an attorney for plaintiffs. Yes, I’m wearing two hats but in this case the two “hats” might be helpful to you.
“We fight, we win!”
Let’s say your attorney suggests you”mediate” your lawsuit.Whatever happened to “We fight for you”? That was on the billboard, wasn’t it? “We fight, we win!”
After you catch your breathe, you are convinced you picked the wrong lawyer. He’s looking to settle for a quick buck. If he believed in your case, he’d never look to settle.
Here’s the reality. Lawsuits are emotional. People are injured. Insurance companies deny claims. They wear you down. Lawsuits take too much time. And, let’s face it, wearing you down typically means you will accept less money.
Waiting to get paid for what you are entitled to receive is a second injury and it’s completely unfair.
I agree. But here’s the reality. Lawsuits can never completely put you back to square one. There are no special formulas for personal injury claims that accurately value your claim. A claim is worth what a jury of your peers says it is worth. That may be a different number depending on what County you file your lawsuit in, how good your attorney is, and whether a jury likes you. Uncle Bob’s verdict in Manhattan for the same injury will be different than your verdict in Northampton County. The injuries may be the same but the jurors’ valuations will not.
The Role for Mediation
Non-binding mediation often reveals facts that may help your case even if the case never settles. Litigants disclose facts that may be useful at trial. Mediators can assist in fairly valuing a claim.
So, here’s what you should know.
An experienced mediator has an edge in valuing your claim and helping you to decide when settlement is best for you and when you need to roll the dice by presenting your case to a jury. When the insurance companies undervalue your case, go to trial. That’s the time for “We fight, we win!” But sometimes, winning means settling for a fair value.
When a case can be fairly settled without incurring thousands of dollars of expert witness fees and doing so one to two years before a trial, that’s something to consider as well.
The Key is Properly Valuing Your Case
The key is valuing the case. How can you possibly decide what to do without an accurate sense of the case’s value?
A mentor told me when I first started practicing law that many clients will tell me it’s not about the money, it’s about the principle. (I haven’t seen a client yet with this view).
But principles cost money.
Although there may be no formulas in valuing a particular claim, an experienced attorney with a mediation background can help you navigate the historical values of verdicts in the jurisdiction where you file your claims.
Call the Lawyer Who Represents Lawyers
If you’ve been seriously injured and have questions about the valuation of your claim, please call me. I know you have many choices in lawyers. I’m proud to be the lawyer that other lawyers and judges call when they need representation.
Initial consultations are always free and I’m even available on Saturdays by appointment. Don’t hesitate to email me with questions about your case. If we’re not the right fit, I’ll suggest others who can help.