It can be frustrating when an insurance company denies or undervalues your personal injury claim, forcing you to initiate a lawsuit to recover the compensation you deserve. However, before you face the protracted courtroom litigation process, you may have an opportunity to settle via mediation. Call our South Carolina mediation attorneys to fight for maximum compensation when preparing for mediation.
Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is compulsory in all South Carolina counties. The parties can enter into mediation or arbitration. This alternative to litigation can save you time, money, and stress. Either way, if your South Carolina personal injury case is heading toward mediation, proper preparation is critical to achieving an appropriate settlement.
Preparing for Mediation: Understand the Mediation Format
The first step toward preparing for mediation is to understand the mediation format. Having a general idea of how the day will unfold can help you feel more confident and at ease. While each mediation will differ according to the parties involved and the circumstances of the case, here are the basics of what to expect:
- A mediator (a neutral, third-party legal professional) will serve as the facilitator of the process.
- Each side will present opening statements.
- Negotiations will begin with the mediator holding sessions with the parties in separate rooms to hear and convey demands and offers confidentially.
- The mediator will then facilitate joint sessions for direct back-and-forth negotiations.
- If the parties can settle, the mediator will help draft a formal agreement, which the parties will sign.
- If an agreement does not materialize, the parties may continue with litigation.
Analyze Your Case Thoroughly
In addition to understanding the format of the mediation, a thorough understanding of the facts of your case will help you feel optimally prepared. Work with your South Carolina personal injury attorney to ensure you understand the chief factors of your case, including:
- Why the at-fault party is liable
- The value of your specific and subjective losses
- The evidence you have to support your case
Understanding these factors will help you develop a reasonable expectation for a target settlement range. You should also talk to your attorney about their assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of your case. The more you know, the less likely it is that you will be surprised by anything that transpires during mediation.
Prepare Supporting Documentation
Compile and familiarize yourself with the following supporting documentation:
- Medical records and test results to quantify your injuries and their impact on your life
- Medical bills to document expenses
- Employment records as evidence of lost income due to missed time at work
- Photographs and videos of the accident and the accident location
- Police reports
- Accident reports
- Eyewitness statements
Understanding the strength of your evidence can help put you in a confident position during the process.
Anticipate the Defense’s Arguments
To feel fully prepared for mediation, you should anticipate and prepare for the arguments the defense is likely to make. Work closely with your personal injury lawyer to learn about typical defense tactics and brainstorm the specific lines of argument the at-fault party may use to minimize or deny liability.
For example, the defense may argue that you were partially at fault, that your injuries are exaggerated or preexisting, or that there is a lack of evidence proving their responsibility. For each likely argument, be sure you have outlined solid rebuttals and know where your supporting documentation contradicts each claim. Having factual responses ready for each defense argument will prevent you from feeling caught off-guard.
Polish Negotiation Strategy
Mediation involves back-and-forth negotiation aimed at compromise and settlement. To maximize your chances of a favorable outcome:
- Establish your starting anchor point for beginning the bargaining at a dollar amount higher than your minimum needs. Allow room to make some concessions downward.
- Know your best-case scenario target settlement amount that would fulfill all your hopes. Treat this as your initial demand or opening offer.
- Determine the lowest reasonable amount you could accept without sacrificing your core needs and interests. This is your walk-away point.
Mapping out these figures with your attorney ensures that your lawyer can negotiate efficiently while upholding your most vital interests.
Contact Murphy Crantford Meehan When Preparing for Mediation
The attorneys at Murphy Crantford Meehan understand that preparing for mediation can feel overwhelming. However, with us on your side, you can rest assured that we will help you feel as prepared as possible. We will do all the hard logistical work and update you about the key information you need to remember for the session. During mediation itself, we will fight for what you deserve. Contact us today at (843) 396-3840 or reach out to us online for a free case evaluation to learn more about how we can help you.