Being ahead of the curve when it comes to anticipating changing interests on the other side of an injury claim can lead to profound improvements in your negotiating as a lawyer. Potential personal injury clients are also well aware of how important it is that their lawyer to be part of the changing process of settlement.
I do not speak for my profession but rather from my experience prosecuting personal injuries cases, and settling most along the way. As a personal injury lawyer in Vancouver since 1995 I have witnessed the transition of the mediation settlement process from a voluntary understanding between interested parties to the current forced or “mandatory mediation” process.
Some things haven’t changed though and that’s the desire to resolve disputes in the best interest of clients and the desire of clients to obtain best financial recovery at the lowest possible cost and risk. What are the negotiating trends for the next year? This is where I think your negotiating fuel should be spent in the near future:
1. Rules!Rules! Rules!
Make sure your office procedure reflects all of the changes in the Supreme Court Civil Rules. Some are huge and profound others are simple dates and deadlines.
Personal injury claims are uniquely impacted, for example, by the requirements that insurance companies now have to disclosure their third party policy limits.
2. Consent Orders for Medial and Employment Records
Gone are the days that ICBC defence lawyers can expect personal injury claimants to disclose non relevant documents in the course of litigation. Set up a system advising your non-parties that a Consent Order should be expected. Follow through on consent orders and expect the other side to make reasonable compromises. Be prepared to compromise yourself, sometimes a Jones order just makes sense.
Never give up on settlement throughout the document gathering process. Typically, ICBC and other insurance companies require far less documents to make their settlement decisions than they ask for through their lawyers.
3. Voluntary Mediation
Reason will never die and we’ll start to remember how important mediation really is in the personal injury litigation process. Make sure you are not just serving a Notice to Mediate, sometimes an informal discussion with the other lawyer about mediation and settlement is all that needs be done.
Posted by personal injury lawyer Mr. Renn A. Holness, B.A. LL.B.