Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer - What Is a Mediation?
What Is A Mediation?
A mediation is similar to a pretrial conference. In other words, it’s an attempt to settle the personal injury case.
There are two ways that attorneys attempt to settle the case. They can either do it in direct negotiation with the defense attorney and the insurance company, or they can get a current or retired judge involved.
When you get a current or retired judge involved, the judge acts as a mediator. Then, you can either do it in court in a pretrial conference with a sitting judge, or you can usually do it with a retired judge. Those are the most common mediators.
The Preference for Mediation
In a bigger or more complex case, I actually prefer to do a mediation. Why?
A mediation is usually much more comprehensive and it takes longer to do than a pretrial conference. There’s a good reason for that.
In a pretrial conference with a sitting judge, that judge has a complete court call, which they’re responsible for. But in a mediation, the judge is retired and they’re being paid hourly for their time.
That means the judge can usually dig in much deeper into the details and the facts of the case so that you can end up with a better outcome. Whether it’s a pretrial conference or a mediation, the important thing here is that the mediator or judge is attempting to be fair to both sides.
That means they may talk us down from our demand, but they also talk the insurance company and the defense up from their offer. And hopefully, we meet in the middle and settle the case.
I always tell my clients, if the defense is willing to do a pretrial conference or especially a mediation, we should absolutely do it. It means they’re ready to settle the case.
That means putting money in your pocket and sort of closing the book on this chapter of your life and moving on, which is usually a good thing to do.
I have also found that many times, a Defense attorney will ask to do a Pre-Trial Conference to get a ‘free look.’ This is a preview of how we will present our case at trial, but with no real intention of settling the case.
Since Mediations cost money and take more time, they usually are not messing around and will make some kind of effort to settle the case. In other words, a Pre-Trial Conference may take 15 minutes and costs little to no extra case costs.
But Mediations can take hours or sometimes, multiple sessions and the mediator has to be paid. Usually, we split the costs of Mediation with the other side. Sometimes, I will ask them to pay the cost of the Mediation.
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