Keep in mind that this is likely the very first time the insurance adjuster has ever met or seen you. So their impression of you goes a long way in their evaluation of how much money to offer you. This is why dressing appropriately, like you are going to church or an interview and holding back your emotions, may increase your settlement. I also tell my clients that at every mediation, we will all LEARN something. As a plaintiff’s lawyer, I find mediations are extremely valuable places to learn from the defense how they view the case. So in the event that we cannot settle the case at mediation, I have a better idea of what they are going to focus on at trial.
Once the defense lawyer has finished their opening statement, the mediator will usually break the parties into two separate rooms and the mediator will shuttle back and forth carrying information from one side to the other. A good mediator will address the weaknesses of each side, suggest that they might want to make compromises and do their best to explain to the plaintiff why they should reduce their demand, and at the same time, explain to the defense why they should increase their offer. The mediator will ask questions that will prompt each side to continue to reevaluate their position. A highly skilled mediator will often help parties that felt like they would never reach a compromise, somehow, reach a compromise and settle the case. If and when a settlement is reached, the parties will sign a written agreement memorializing the settlement terms and agreements.
The attorneys will then prepare the necessary paperwork to file with the court so that your claim is paid. A release will be signed and the matter is resolved. If a settlement isn’t obtained at mediation, sometimes the settlement negotiations will continue and many cases are resolved closer to trial. I am glad to say that mediation, in my experience, is a very useful tool that has brought about many great settlements of cases that sometimes even I didn’t think would get resolved.
I hope you found this information to be helpful