In-house counsel and claims professionals evaluate thousands of cases each year and make decisions concerning which cases to potentially take to trial, which to settle soon after a lawsuit is filed and which to settle before a lawsuit is even filed. In most instances, in-house counsel and claims professionals prefer to mediate in order to avoid the expensive costs of litigation. However, mediations are often unsuccessful due to the lack of groundwork and background research carried out beforehand.

The key to a successful mediation is to build rapport with your adversary well before the mediation and in some instances, prior to the lawsuit ever being filed. In personal injury cases, rapport can be easily established by making a prompt call to the party that was harmed and expressing empathy toward the accident victim. Plaintiffs frequently mention their dissatisfaction with how their claim was handled initially and often this leads them to pursue extensive and costly litigation. This experience is consistent with research which has shown that physicians who had positive communication behaviours with patients had significantly fewer medical malpractice lawsuits filed against them. Similarly, though this can sometimes be difficult, good communication with and empathy toward the party filing the lawsuit will likely lead to a quicker resolution and at a lower amount.

Jan-Mar 2018 issue

Gallagher Bassett / Blueprint Trial Consulting