What Should You Not Say or Do During Mediation?
Mediation is one of the best methods of resolving a dispute. It’s common in personal injury lawsuits. Opposing parties can meet with a mediator to negotiate a settlement, and they often do because a successful mediation means you can avoid proceeding to trial. You and the defendant reach a mutually beneficial arrangement to put the matter behind you.
Although your lawyer will likely do most of the talking during your mediation, there are some things you should avoid saying and doing. Your actions in front of the defense team and mediator could negatively affect the outcome of your case.
Below, we’ve listed some things you should avoid saying or doing during your upcoming mediation.
Phrases Indicating Your Refusal to Participate
If you say anything that shows the other party you’re not interested in participating in the process, it can work against you. Even if you don’t want to attempt to negotiate a settlement, mediation requires cooperation.
You must not act like you don’t want to be there. Despite your feelings about the process, you must appear engaged in the discussions. Ask your lawyer questions, make eye contact with everyone who attends, and maintain a polite and respectful demeanor. You lose nothing by participating in mediation. The worst that can happen is you don’t settle your case.
Not Acknowledging the Other Side
You attend mediation with your lawyer, the defendant or insurance representative, and their attorney. Walking into a session without acknowledging anyone’s presence is rude. It also shows your lack of cooperation.
The mediator might decide to end mediation if you act like you’re not paying attention to what they say. They can also end the session if you’re unwilling to consider a proposed settlement. You should listen while each person speaks. If you check out during the meeting, it wastes your time and everyone else’s.
You should never be disrespectful during mediation. Although you might feel angry about what happened to you and know it’s the other person’s fault, treat them with respect anyway.
Making unnecessary comments under your breath, having a negative attitude, or rolling your eyes won’t help you. The defense team might decide they don’t want to meet you halfway to reach an agreement if you mistreat them. The mediator might not want to work with you, either.
Ignoring Other Perspectives and Interests
The other side has a different perspective on the case than you. The defendant might believe they’re not at fault for the accident. Or they might agree they’re liable for your injury but think the settlement you want is too high or unreasonable.
You should hear them out when they discuss their reasoning for a different settlement offer or negotiate other terms. Although you feel you are entitled to specific compensation, trying to understand where the other party is coming from can help resolve the issues.
Having negative feelings about the situation is understandable. Your injuries weren’t your fault. The accident occurred because someone else behaved carelessly. You might have anger or resentment, but don’t let it cloud your judgment.
You should remain calm during mediation, no matter what. Raising your voice or cursing at the other side won’t benefit you. It could get you in trouble and will likely lead to unsuccessful negotiations.
Your behavior during mediation can directly impact the opposing party’s actions and opinions on the case. Pointing your finger and telling the defendant they’re responsible for what happened can put them on the defensive.
Contentious statements can ruin your chance of settling. It also makes conversations more challenging when the other side feels attacked. Mediation isn’t the place to play the blame game. It’s an opportunity to set your feelings aside and resolve the matter.
Providing New Information
You might have new information about the case you want the defense attorney to review. However, bringing it up during mediation doesn’t give them time to evaluate and confirm the validity of the evidence. It also reduces your chance of settling during mediation.
Although new evidence can be exciting, especially if it works in your favor, the other party must receive it before the session to consider their options. They need time to fact-check and determine whether it changes their legal strategy. Springing it on them last minute means you might have to continue negotiations later.
Contact an Experienced Lake Charles Personal Injury Attorney
Mediation can be stressful. You might worry about how you’ll feel sitting across from the person responsible for your injury. The good news is you don’t have to go through this stage of your lawsuit alone.
The Lake Charles personal injury attorneys of Veron, Bice, Palermo & Wilson, LLC will be by your side during the entire process. We will protect your rights and pursue the maximum compensation you deserve. Call us at 337-800-8800 for your free consultation today if you sustained injuries in an accident due to someone else’s wrongdoing.