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Settlement vs. Mediation vs. Trial

In a terrible turn of events, you have been injured as a result of someone else's carelessness. Aside from the physical and emotional damage, you have serious financial matters to consider - medical bills, loss of work, etc. Thankfully you have partnered with an experienced attorney and filed a lawsuit against those responsible for your condition. However, lawsuits can take many months to resolve, sometimes years, and in the meanwhile your financial burden continues to grow. You may want to speed the case along and take whatever offer you receive from the defense, even if it is far below what your attorney tells you the case is worth. Your attorney may recommend mediation, or even taking the case to trial. What does this mean? What is the difference between settlement, mediation, and trial, and how do you know which to choose?

Settlement

The facts of the case have been presented to the defense, and they make an offer to settle the case, i.e. bring it to a close. Your attorney is legally obligated to present all such offers to you for consideration, and to advise you as to whether or not they believe you should accept or reject the offer. Regardless of your attorney's recommendation, you may choose to accept the offer, at which point the case is essentially over. You may also choose to reject the offer, at which point the defense may present a new offer, or the case may move on to mediation or trial. Note that the defense may present new offers at any time during the lawsuit, including during the trial.

Mediation

The two sides have not yet agreed to a settlement, yet everyone wants to avoid a trial. Most circuit court judges require that the parties attend mediation. Both parties and their attorneys agree to meet with an independent mediator who, over the course of several hours to a few days, will attempt to negotiate a settlement that is acceptable to all. If successful, the mediation will bring the case to a close. If not, the only remaining option is a full trial (unless the defense makes an acceptable settlement offer before the trial ends).

Trial

You know what this looks like: a courtroom, a judge, the two parties sitting at their respective tables. Each side makes their case, witnesses are called, and a jury of your peers will determine whether or not your claim has merit, and, should they decide in your favor, how much the case is worth. This is the most high-risk option, which is one of the reasons many attorneys will refer such cases to "outside counsel" like the experienced trial attorneys at Blaut Weiss Law Group. You may win, you may lose - in either event, the case will end.

Which To Choose

Your attorney will provide guidance and recommendations based on their experience. It may be clear to them that a particular offer from the defense is unacceptable, and the case should move on to the next level. However, your attorney ultimately works for you, and if you decide to settle against their recommendation, then that is what will happen.

It is crucial that your attorney have extensive experience to draw from in order to help you make the best decision and maximize your settlement. We at the the Blaut Weiss Law Group are experienced trial attorneys with more than 60 years of combined personal injury and property damage experience that can be put to work for you. Schedule a free consultation at www.blautweiss.com/contact.php.

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