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Frequently, parties to a lawsuit benefit from focused discussion where all the important decision makers come prepared to speak about the issues and where the management of the process is assigned to or coached by, a mediator. I have been acting as a mediator in personal injury mediations since 1993 and seen the substantial growth of mediation to the point where now as many cases settle at mediation as go to trial.

The use of mediation in personal injury and insurance matters has been in place since about 1985 in British Columbia. At this point, only about 2-3% of Writs filed go to trial, leaving 95% of cases settling without third party assistance. One study shows that mediated files settle sooner and at a lesser cost that would otherwise occur. Some patterns are common.

Key Benefits

bulletCost effective and timely decision-making.
bulletGeneration of less ill will.
bulletThe parties retain control and privacy, over the outcome.

Capabilities

    My background as counsel, mediator and trainer in personal injury mediation, allows me to bring people management capabilities and resources to the table in a mediation. Most of the barriers to settlement are people problems, although it does not feel that way when you yourself are a party or player.

Setting a positive work environment
 
Many of our dispute resolution expectations revolve around rules for turn taking in discussions. Mediation allows for more open and less structured communication to occur between the decision makers. Typically in personal injury mediation, this involves more than two parties.
 
Easy on the people, hard on the problem
 
When we receive some kind of input in conflict, we often assume that the sender has negative intentions. Clarification of intent and the effect actions have, often moves the focus from interpersonal conflict onto the substantive problem.
 
Knowledge of the territory
 
I have been concentrating in the area of injury litigation for 22 years. While specific content knowledge is not necessary for a mediator who will not give decisions, it is an invaluable asset for understanding the terrain of a dispute and guiding the parties over the common barriers to resolution.

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