Mediation is a process where parties engaged in a lawsuit or potential lawsuit agree to meet with a third party (ie the “mediator”) to help them resolve their dispute. Generally going to a mediator is fairly large commitment of time and money for everyone involved. Essentially each side must present their case to the Mediator as though they were at a mini trial. The mediator then analyzes the strength and weaknesses of each case and has a frank discussion with each side regarding the case. This discussion includes not only analyzing the merits of the case involved but also the ability of each party to settle.
For example, in personal injury cases with intentional torts, very often one side will have a very good claim against another. However, the party principally at fault can only pay a portion of the amount owed. A mediator can bring this to the attention of everyone in the hopes of reaching an agreement. The idea being that if the wronged party won more at trial they would not be able to collect it anyways.
Reaching a settlement through mediation is frequently a preferable option to a trial. It not only avoids the long exhausting process of a trial but also guarantees a particular result. Reaching such an agreement, however, involves coming into mediation with the right mindset. If you enter trying to “win the case” nothing is going to get resolved. Each side must be willing give some ground and meet in the middle. The Bay Area San Francisco lawyers at Jones & Devoy consider mediation a viable option in almost every case and have a track records of helping their clients reach favorable settlements at early stages in the process so you can get on with living your life.