to gathering the claim facts, ask counsel if
they have a settlement demand. You won’t
settle every case this way. However, if you
never ask you won’t settle any.
Maybe the 15 days got away from you.
Or, maybe you received a letter of representation
before you had a chance to call. Either way,
the name of the game is still early resolution
3. Pre-Suit Mediation
You have an engaged claimant’s attorney and a demand; however, you are not
close to a settlement. You can just let it go
and let counsel file suit, or take it one step
further. I’m not alone in saying that many
cases end up settling years later for money
the claimant should have accepted early on.
Since counsel is engaged, why not explore
mediation now? While you won’t get formal discovery, each party should submit a
confidential pre-mediation statement. That
way, even if the case does not settle, you
will obtain important insight early on.
way, you can ensure the maximum number of claimants or plaintiffs are present
and prepared to have serious discussions.
If you don’t have a volume of cases to hold
a “settlement day,” then perhaps counsel
can involve another carrier, or you can do
it in a small region.
4. Immediate Post-Suit
Let’s say settlement discussions either
broke down or never happened. Now
your claim has now become a lawsuit.
The goal, however, remains the same.
Your early resolution efforts should be
communicated to counsel. Not only is it
crucial they know the history of the discussions, but they will also see how serious you are about using various methods
to accomplish your goal. Counsel should
be expected to pick up where you left off.
7. Pre-Trial Mediation
Although mediation can take place any
time, it is commonly used after most (or
all) of the discovery is complete. Some
courts offer or even require court supervised mediation. The court attorneys,
magistrates or retired judges assigned to
this task perform a lot of it. This can be a
cost-effective way to have the case negotiated by a skilled mediator.
In New York County, we have court
mandated mediation. Here, a number of
court attorneys work hard to get the cases
that come before them settled. If going
the private route, then there are any num-
ber of services that arrange mediation.
Selecting the mediator, however, is an
important step in putting together a suc-
5. Offers of Judgment
Not all state jurisdictions have them,
but for those which do, this can be an
effective strategy. They vary from limiting attorney fees to obligating the losing
party to pay them (and other things in
between). While it may not be available
in state court, it is in federal court. If you
have diversity jurisdiction, then that may
be another data point in deciding whether to remove the case.
6. Settlement Days
It’s clear that settlement days are inviting. Counsel knows you are serious just
by the sound of it. Settlement days can be
can be an effective way to resolve many
claims at once. They can be held in-house,
at your counsel’s office, or at a mediation
company. Regardless of what you do, be
sure to do it with plenty of lead time. That