Most of the people I work for would rather settle their cases than have trials. A settlement is less expensive and faster than a trial, and it is not as risky.
Nearly all personal injury cases are settled before trial. A case can be settled at any time, so long as both sides agree on the terms of settlement. Many cases are settled before suit is filed. If suit is filed, there is still a good chance the case will settle before trial.
Settlement can occur any time your lawyer – and the other insurance company – are willing to discuss it. One of the best opportunities for settling the case is at mediation.
What is mediation? It is a negotiating session between the parties managed by a third lawyer, who is agreed on by both sides The third lawyer is the mediator. The lawyers and their clients meet – usually at one of the lawyer’s offices. The mediator usually listens to both sides and then divides them, sending the insurance adjuster and his lawyer to one room and the injured person with his lawyer to another. The mediator then practices “shuttle diplomacy”, taking offers and counteroffers back and forth until, hopefully, the case settles. Mediation is a very effective way to settle a lawsuit because it offers face to face contact, and both parties respond quickly to the other side’s offers so long as they think the case can be settled.
Mediation can happen any time both parties want it to. Usually, this is right before lawsuit is filed, or shortly before trial.