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What Should You Not Say During Mediation?

When you are injured because of someone else’s negligence, you have options for pursuing the compensation you deserve, including mediation. Mediation can be entered into voluntarily, or it may be court-ordered. The purpose of mediation is for a neutral third party to facilitate communication between the parties so that a resolution can be reached.

Unfortunately, mediation does not always end with a settlement agreement. You should follow these tips about what to avoid saying and doing to improve your chances of a successful mediation.

Don’t Be Disrespectful

Respect is essential when people need to work together, and mediation requires compromise. Being disrespectful during mediation may lead to more conflict and could decrease the chances of successful mediation. People are less inclined to compromise with people who are being disrespectful, and the only way that mediation can work is if the parties are willing to work together to resolve the case.

Mediation is not legally binding unless the parties enter a settlement agreement, so being disrespectful can end with a lawsuit going to trial instead of the dispute being resolved in a mutually satisfactory way. You do not have to be overly friendly, but you cannot be disrespectful if you want a successful mediation.

Don’t Place Blame

It may be easy to establish who is at fault, but you do not want to go into mediation saying things like, “this is all your fault” or “if not for you, I wouldn’t have been injured.” Placing blame can raise the other party’s guard, which could make them less likely to compromise.

While you want to appear confident about your case, you do not want to say anything that will put up the other party’s defenses or make them angry. You need them as much as they need you for a successful mediation, so save the blame game for the court if mediation should fail.

Don’t Demand More Money

Before mediation, you should have made a demand for a certain amount of compensation. That compensation amount was rejected because the defense believed it was unfair. Going into mediation and asking for more money than you have been demanding will likely end the mediation before it fully begins. If you feel like the compensation originally requested was too low, adjusting it during mediation is not the way to go.

Don’t Introduce Brand New Information

During mediation, each party will give an opening statement and discuss evidence that could be used during the trial. However, if you recently discovered new information, waiting to present it until the day of mediation drastically decreases your chances of having a successful mediation.

When parties are given new information, they will want to review, analyze, and evaluate its validity. As a result, providing new information during mediation could terminate the mediation because the other party will want to examine the evidence to determine whether the value of the case has changed in light of that new evidence.

Don’t Say, “That’s Confidential Information”

Information is power, but refusing to discuss certain things reduces the chances of a successful mediation. Very few things will remain confidential during a trial, so if your attorney believes the information will come to light or be used during the lawsuit, you should share it with the other side to help settle your case.

Mediation is confidential, so anything presented during mediation will remain confidential. If you have information that can increase your odds of success, share it. You want the other side to see the strengths of your case so that they are more willing to enter a settlement agreement. Refusing to share that information by stating it is confidential will likely make them skeptical about the strength of your case, causing them to be less willing to settle.

If you are nervous about sharing certain information, discuss it with your attorney so they can evaluate whether it should be used during mediation or not.

Don’t Make Ultimatums

Avoid saying things like, “if you don’t give me x, I will take this case to trial.” Mediation is about working together toward a mutual resolution. Issuing an ultimatum is not “working together” and will decrease your chances of a successful mediation. Ultimatums automatically put people on the defensive, which you want to avoid during mediation.

Contact a Rhode Island Personal Injury Attorney

Preparing for mediation can be stressful because you may be doing something unfamiliar, but it doesn’t have to be. The experienced Rhode Island personal injury attorneys from The Law Offices of Ronald J. Resmini, Accident & Injury Lawyers, Ltd. are experienced in preparing and representing clients during the mediation process. If you want to increase your chances of a successful mediation, you should contact us today at (401) 751-8855 or through our online form.

Written By: Ronald J. Resmini

Last Updated : Tuesday, February 7, 2023