July 15, 2018
Before you enter into a trial, you must enter the discovery phase. This phase includes a lot of back and forth; a lot of questions and answers being exchanged, a lot of evidence being examined, and a lot of depositions. It’s the part of the case where your attorney is building value and beginning to paint the picture of what their argument is going to be at trial and what the insurance company is going to be up against. Once that discovery phase comes to an end, there comes the proverbial fork in the road. This is where your attorney will explore settlement or mediation or continue to get ready for trial.
The first option, exploring settlement, often comes in the form of a formal attempt. Most courts require that you go to what’s called a mediation or settlement conference before trial. Some courts require that you make this effort before they will give you a trial date. If your attorney goes forward with this attempt to resolve your case without a jury’s intervention and we go for what’s called mediation or a settlement conference, it’s possible to settle your case that way. The beauty of mediation or federal court settlement conference is that it gets everybody in the building at the same time. If you have two, three, four, five attorneys working on a case at those times, that can be a beautiful thing because it gets everybody in the same room at the same time and everybody is there with one goal in mind and that’s to try to get the case settled.
In mediation, there is the introduction of the mediator. This is someone in the middle who isn’t working for your attorney and isn’t working for the other side, either. They’re truly a third party and the mediator’s sole job is to get the case solved as best they can. It’s equally possible that after the discovery phase is complete, your attorney may be able to settle your case informally with just a few phone calls and emails. It really depends on what the insurance company’s posture is in terms of how they value your case. If they value your case well below what you and your attorney value your case at, that can be an issue in terms of resolving it without a jury trial.
Even if you go to mediation and put forth these efforts to settle a case and you’re unsuccessful first, it’s still equally possible that your case will be resolved before a jury trial. If your attorney isn’t successful at mediation or successful at resolving informally and they keep going to trial, then the discussion about settlement is often rekindled. In this case, your attorney will continue to get your case ready for trial so that you can have your day in court. There’s risks all along the way. There’s risks for both sides. One of those risks is the expenses associated with a trial. During trial, your attorney has to file the lawsuit, pay for deposition transcripts, pay for medical records, medical bills, and certified copies of all of those. If you can settle the case before going to trial, you save a lot of money and that money just goes right back on your bottom line.
If you feel your case may enter trial, it’s important to hire experienced trial attorneys. At Stewart & Stewart, we are trial lawyers and it’s what we do but we are always keeping in mind that we want to do what’s right by you. We want to fight for our clients’ interests. The bottom line is, this is your case, you are the one who was injured, you are the one who has been living it, and you are the one who might be dealing with it for the rest of your life. For us, we’re much more used to the process but more importantly; we’re not the one who was hurt so we’re very cognizant of that. We keep your interests in mind moving forward, but we still remain zealous and we fight hard for you.
If you are in need of a trial attorney, contact us at Stewart & Stewart. Give us a call at 1-800-33-33-LAW or visit our website for more information.