Litigation is difficult, and can be trying for everyone involved; however, one of the bright spots about litigation is that there are always going to be opportunities to settle your lawsuit. Why settle? Mainly because it eliminates the risk of reaching a far less favorable result through trial. There is no better opportunity to settle your lawsuit than at mediation.
Mediation is a process wherein the parties to a case sit down together to see if they can reach a settlement. When mediation begins, the parties will typically make opening statements, in which they will present the strengths in their case or the weaknesses of their opponent’s case. One party will usually start with an offer of settlement–typically for a certain dollar value–thus prompting a series of counter offers, the net result of which often results in a settlement.
The process will involve a neutral, third-party person, who acts as your “mediator.” Having a mediator present is advantageous for a number of reasons. First of all, a neutral person has a much better chance of reaching the litigants with arguments. Because the other parties are your adversaries in litigation, it is very difficult to trust the arguments presented by the opposition and their attorney. The mediator helps side-step this issue.
After the opening, the mediator will usually “shuttle” back and forth between the rooms where the parties and their attorneys remain separate. The mediator will employ a variety of creative strategies in an attempt to resolve the dispute. For example, if the parties just can’t seem to come close to an agreement, the mediator might employ “blind baseball,” in which the parties can accept a proposed settlement of the mediator, but won’t find out if the other party has accepted the proposal unless that other party also agrees to it.
Mediation is also an opportunity to learn more about your case. The numbers the opposition offers to you will suggest how they feel about the strength of the case, and provide important information for helping you make future decisions.
Lastly, you should be careful about the information you reveal through mediation. Revealing information can help resolve things; however, where resolution is far-fetched, you might be better off saving your powerful arguments and evidence for a later time when you can surprise your opponent.
Mediation is tricky, and it’s an important crossroads in any lawsuit where all the moving parts come into play. Having an experienced, studied hand on your side through this process can be invaluable. If you need help mediating, you should give the lawyers at Asheville Legal a call today.