Personal injury lawyers have seen it all. Clients have broken their legs because a property owner failed to clear the sidewalk. Clients have had medical injuries because of the doctor’s negligence. Clients have had whiplash because of horrific drivers.
These same attorneys have also seen what can happen when clients do not take the proper measures, implement the right protocols or embark upon the right course of action.
Because many clients do not want to go through the hassle of the Ontario court system – it is lengthy, bureaucratic and costly – they will opt for mediation. This is where personal injury lawyers can come to a fair conclusion for both sides.
So, ditch the fierce court battles, sit down with the defendant and his legal team and get on with your life. Mediation is the best way to go.
Here are five mediation tips from a personal injury lawyer:
1. Undergo Rigorous Preparation Beforehand
In the days leading up to your mediation session, it is crucial to undergo rigorous preparation. This should consist of sitting down with your personal injury lawyers, going through your documents, paperwork and personal records (see below) and come up with a game plan.
By doing this, nothing will come out of left field during the proceedings.
2. Practice with a Mediation Brief
In addition to in-depth preparation, you should also practice with a mediation brief. This will simply outline background information, descriptions, a layout of the damages you’re seeking and a quick rundown of how you will move forward.
3. Gather All of Your Records & Documents
From the day your injury takes place to the day your mediation session commences, you need to have every single document, personal record and paperwork with you and ready to go through. Remember, in the legal system, the best way to win a case and receive your claim is by having a record of every instance, medical visit, cost and so on. Without it, you don’t have a prayer.
4. Be on the Same Page as Your Lawyer
Although this may seem like common sense, it is essential to be on the same page as your lawyer. Both of you should be in agreement of how much you’re seeking, what your course of action is and what you want from the defendant.
If you suddenly change direction, blinding your personal injury lawyer, you’ll likely lose.
5. Remain Calm, Take a Deep Breath & Wait Your Turn
Whenever it comes down to dollars and cents, you can expect animosity and tension. In fact, you can cut the tension in the mediation room with a knife. It’s that thick!
That said, before you launch a profanity-laced tirade, it is important to remind yourself to remain calm, take a deep breath and wait your turn. You do not want the mediation to metastasize into a shouting a match or a fist fight.
Ultimately, you should let the other person speak, wait your turn and speak in an indoor voice. We should be respectful of everybody.