In mediation, a neutral third party facilitates a discussion between the parties and their attorneys, and keeps them focused on options to resolve the dispute.
Initially the parties meet collectively with the neutral to discuss the facts of the case. Then the parties typically adjourn to separate rooms. The neutral assists in settlement communications and negotiations, but the parties retain the decision-making power.
Any resolution comes from the parties and, therefore, meets their needs and interests. Mediation produces a voluntary, win-win solution. The parties are free to pursue litigation if their case is not resolved in mediation.
For mediation to work well, it is essential that the individuals with ultimate settlement authority attend. If a claims adjuster attends with less than ultimate settlement authority, the superior with ultimate authority must be readily accessible by telephone.
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