Using mediation as a valuable settlement tool


More and more insurance companies are forcing injury victims to file suit in Court as they tighten their belts in this tight economy. When this happens, they seek to keep company profits up at the costs of their insureds and the people who file claims against their insureds (where they are financially responsible for the injuries their insureds cause). Many people don’t understand that when you file a lawsuit into court, there are many pretrial steps that occur prior to an actual jury trial being conducted. On average, a trial is not held until 1-2 years after a lawsuit is actually filed, depending on the jurisdiction. Also, settlement can occur any time before or even during trial after a lawsuit is filed. Few cases make it all the way to jury trial. The vast majority settle before getting this far.

One of the pretrial steps that usually occurs prior to a trial is mediation. Mediation is when the parties from both sides of a lawsuit meet with a court hired mediator, usually a former attorney, whose job is to facilitate a reasonable settlement prior to trial. Mediation is simply a chance to negotiate with the other side while hearing a neutral third parties opinion and help in getting to a common ground. A mediation is held outside of court and on an informal basis.

Mediation can be especially helpful in pressuring the insurance adjuster to increase their settlement offer. Often times lawsuits are filed because the adjuster is just being unreasonable. Sometimes this is because they think the attorney is one who ordinarily accepts low settlements and pressures their clients to take their low offers, other times the adjuster might just be inexperienced, and sometimes the adjuster is just being difficult or does not have all the facts needed to make a fair offer. In any event, mediation is a chance for the insurance adjuster to hear from an unbiased third party why your case is worth more than what they are offering. This can be helpful in getting the insurance adjuster to raise their offer.

Of course there is no requirement that you settle at mediation, and lots of times settlement does not occur. An experienced and aggressive Ohio personal injury attorney who knows when a settlement is unreasonable in your case will better be able to advise you when a settlement is appropriate. Be weary of the “settlement attorney” who never try cases and always end up settling. These attorneys will typically not get the settlement offers from the insurance company that you are looking for because the insurance companies know that they are no threat since they rarely/never go to trial. Ask your attorney or firm if he/she actually goes to trial for his/her clients, how often and what recent jury verdicts they have obtained for similar clients.

For more information about this subject go to and request a copy of my free Book entitled The Insider’s Guide to Handling Ohio Accident Claims. You can also order my free DVD entitled What you should know about motor vehicle injury claims. Both the free Book and free DVD describe in more detail what you need to know to protect your rights NOW.

Call the experienced personal injury attorneys at Chester Law Group today to get the help you want from people you can trust 800-218-4243