a. Having been an attorney since graduating from USC Gould School of
Law in 1981 and passing the bar exam in 1981, I have extensive
knowledge and experience in mediating auto accident cases. Here
are some tips for PI attorneys who will be mediating an auto accident
When is the best time to mediate? The answer depends on
The total value of your case plays a role in the timing of the
mediation. Mediating early makes sense if your case has a small
value, for example, a low impact with only chiropractic treatment.
But postponing the mediation until you’ve completed essential
discovery makes sense if you are looking at a major injury or death.
Here are some factors to consider:
Do you know the limits of the insurance coverage? Don’t trust
what the defendant company or adjuster says. There could be excess
or umbrella policies. In a big case, you need answers to
If liability is not clearly admitted, taking the deposition of the
defendant driver will get answers not written by the defense
attorney. In other words, there is a chance you will get the truth.
Do you have medical-legal art exhibits ready? These cost
money, but they can increase the value of your case in a mediation.
I’ve had great success using these.
Doing a defense medical exam before mediation gives the
defense one less excuse.
Doing a 998 demand can give some advantages. For example,
allowing the defense to avoid pre-judgment interest and expert fees
incentivizes them to settle. Also, you can use the 998 demand to
open the policy.
Who to use as the mediator? I like to use a mediator suggested
by the defense. That way, they can’t reasonably complain about the
The mediation brief. Attorneys have different philosophies, but
I prefer to keep it short and straightforward (twelve pages max),
telling the mediator what issues he needs to mediate upfront. The
mediator doesn’t want to read a lengthy brief.
Thorough preparation is essential. The more competent you
appear at mediation, the less likely the defense will want to roll the
dice in court with you as an opponent. Know your case inside and
out. I know my client’s case better than my client.