Mediation Letters to Client in an Oklahoma Personal Injury Matter

Properly and thoroughly pursuing a personal injury action in Oklahoma requires an individual or team to commit significant attention and resources to uncovering evidence, analyzing and assessing the evidence obtained, and presenting one’s case in formal legal proceedings. Depending on the nature of the injury, the complexity of the facts and circumstances surrounding the injury, and the number of points of contention a trial could take several days, a week, or more. As such, matters that go to trial are often drawn-out, anxiety-inducing endeavors where the result is often in question up to the movements prior to the announcement of the jury verdict.

However, some matters can be settled through alternative dispute resolutions techniques. One technique which can be effective in many matters is that of mediation. However, many people are rightfully confused about what mediation is and what the process entails. As such, the attorneys of Hasbrook & Hasbrook have developed a guide to explain common questions associated with mediation.

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Alternatively, you can call us at 405-698-3040 to arrange for an initial free consultation.

What is Mediation?

Mediation is simply a type of settlement negotiation which is commonplace in most litigated matters. However, the mediation process sets forth a particular approach to litigated matters that attempts to eliminate biases and prejudices so as to facilitate negotiation and settlement among the parties. Unlike a judge or jury, the mediator does not make findings of fact or findings of law.

The mediation process is often described by the attorneys of Hasbrook & Hasbrook as the following:

The mediation process, a private meeting, comprises three stages. First, all parties and their counsel meet with the mediator in a general session. During this session, the mediator explains the process and sets forth the ground rules. Afterward, each attorney outlines his or her client’s theory of the case and the legal and factual issues. The clients are encouraged to speak, but are not required to do so. The mediator asks clarifying questions, determines areas of agreement, and inquires as to the status of prior settlement negotiations.

After the general session, the parties separate into different conference rooms for private meetings called caucuses, the second stage of mediation. The caucuses are confidential. Anything said to the mediator during a caucus cannot be repeated outside the caucus except by express permission of the party. This confidential meeting allows counsel to express matters that he or she would be unwilling to state in the presence of opposing counsel. Here the mediator, the party, and counsel undertake a candid discussion of risks, the party’s interests sought to be protected, settlement flexibility, and strengths and weaknesses of the case. At some point during the caucus stage, the mediator will begin serving as a shuttle diplomat between the parties, conveying settlement offers back and forth.

If a settlement is reached, the mediator will usually bring the parties together to close the settlement negotiations. The mediator will then assist the parties in recording and executing an agreement that sets forth all terms of the settlement. While a mediator may report whether a matter has settled, the process is otherwise confidential and may not be disclosed to a court.

Benefits of Mediation

While mediation is not appropriate for every matter, the process does present a number of advantages in comparison to the traditional litigation process. Benefits of mediation include:

  • Facilitated and filtered communication through the mediator avoids retrenchment due to emotional and other reasons.
  • Mediation often spurs a risk/benefit mode of thinking regarding the injury claim. When parties think practically about the situation, settlement often follows.
  • The mediator has knowledge of both parties interests and can use his or her unique position to spur settlement.
  • The mediator is a neutral who advocates for settlement.

The final benefit of mediation is the cost. Most mediations cost no more than one to two depositions thus making them a sound investment into settlement and taking the first steps towards your post-accident life.

Rely on Our Experienced Guidance in Mediated Matters

The experienced personal injury attorneys of Hasbrook & Hasbrook can handle a broad array of personal injury actions. To receive an offline version of this guide and to schedule a initial consultation with our experienced legal team call 405-698-3040 today.