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Missed Mediation Settlement Opportunity

In the realm of civil litigation, one of the most significant missed settlement opportunities is the failure to provide relevant data to opposing counsel in a timely manner. This oversight can have a profound impact on the outcome of mediation, particularly when the plaintiff is seeking a substantial monetary recovery from the defense.

The Role of the Adjuster

In typical civil litigation, the adjuster—who acts as the money decision-maker—relies heavily on data to determine the level of authority or the amount they are willing to pay to resolve a claim. This authority is not set arbitrarily; it is based on a thorough analysis of records, liens, lost wages, and other damages. The adjuster sets this authority well in advance of the mediation, often at least 30 days prior.

For larger claims, particularly those exceeding $100,000, the authority is usually established by a panel or group of adjusters and supervisors, further underscoring the need for comprehensive data well ahead of the mediation date.

The Importance of Timely Documentation

To achieve a large financial recovery, it is imperative to provide appropriate documentation at least 30 days before mediation. This allows the adjuster ample time to analyze the data and set an appropriate level of authority. Failing to do so can significantly undermine the settlement process. If the adjuster receives critical information only at the mediation or immediately before, they will not have the ability to increase their authority on the spot, resulting in a missed settlement opportunity.

Mitigating Missed Opportunities

To avoid these missed opportunities, it is essential to:

1. Prepare Early: Gather all necessary documentation—medical records, financial statements, evidence of damages—well in advance.

2. Communicate Clearly: Ensure that all relevant data is communicated to the opposing counsel and the adjuster at least 30 days before the mediation.

3. Anticipate Questions: Be ready to address any potential questions or concerns that the adjuster or their panel might have about the documentation provided.

By adhering to these steps, you can significantly improve the chances of a successful mediation outcome. Ensuring that the adjuster has all the relevant data well in advance allows them to make informed decisions and increases the likelihood of achieving a favorable settlement.

In mediation, timing is crucial. Providing relevant data to the opposing counsel and adjuster well before the mediation date is essential for a successful settlement. This preparation helps avoid missed opportunities and paves the way for a more efficient and effective resolution process. As a mediator, I emphasize the importance of timely and comprehensive data sharing to ensure that both parties can negotiate from a position of strength and clarity.


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