What is Mediation?

Mediation is a time in your California personal injury case to see if your case can settle with the other side. It is sometimes set up voluntarily or court-ordered by the judge, and it can be a welcome exchange to see what may come about in terms of settling your injury case. It does not mean the case will necessarily settle, but it affords an opportunity to see if it will happen. A mediation is set up usually in a retired judge or former trial attorney office, and my client, the defendant(s), defense counsel and claims adjuster are in attendance in seperate private rooms. The mediator is the neutral third party that will mediate the case, meaning the go between the rooms speaking with each party; and, the mediator is usually the retired judge or former trial lawyer. 
Most of the time, it is worth attending, but there are some circumstances where it is not effective at all. At the very least, if the case does not settle, we do learn what the defense is most important in their case. We sometimes learn defense strategy by going through the mediation attempt. So if a case does not settle, it does not mean it was a complete waste of time. 
Under the California Evidence Code, Mediations are 100% private and confidential. This means, in case your California injury case goes to trial, the jury will never learn of the attempt to settle your case in mediation. Rightly so, as the jury's place is to render a verdict on the facts, not what or when the parties tried to resolve the injury case. 

Example of Mediation Not Being Effective

For example, if your California injury case is worth more than $100,000.00, but the at-fault party only has $100,000.00 in liablity policy limits, well, attending a mediation is not effective. I would demand payment on the $100,000.00 policy limits or I will tell the other side politely, but firmly. "we will see you in court, as I see a jury awarding my client the $100,000.00, or more." You see? In that example, mediation is not amensable, or effective. The case is worth beyond what the at-fault rule breaker had in liablity protection.

My "Rules of Mediation"

However, in other circumstances it can be effective. When it is court ordered by the judge, I always set certain parameters with mediation. For example, I require the defendant to attend, and to have the person who has full settlement authority to be in attendance. This way, we are not wasting time with phone calls for the otherside to obtain more settlement authority in terms of monetary value. I also madate that we will counter any defense offer within 15 minutes, and we expect the otherside to do the same. I don't allow "waiting games" between offers. Otherwise, we will leave the mediation. Most of the time, the waiting time between offers is intended to try to wear down my client. So, I don't allow that, and I set up "Rules of Mediation" before my client and I attend the mediation.
These are simply parameters I have developed over the years to ensure that the other side is serious about settling the injury case. Sometimes, depending on the case, I demand an minimum offer from the defense before we even attend a mediation. Anyway, you can sit back and listen to the video for more details and strategy I employ on a California injury case.
If you have questions or would like to set up an appointment on your California personal injury case, feel free to fill out my convenient online appointment form and I will be sure to get in touch with you.  Or, you can call me directly at 619.813.7955, or contact me via email at mark@blanelaw.com.
Mark Blane
Connect with me
San Diego Personal Injury Lawyer | California Car Accident Attorney