Mediation Case Study: Auto Accident = Back Surgery?

This dispute was resolved on 5/31/17 using 1 Hour Mediation. The parties reached 47 degrees in Settlement Testing, then used a 15 Minute Focus Group to close the remaining gap.

Case summary:

Plaintiff driver was injured when her automobile was struck by Defendant truck. Defendant admitted liability, but disagreed with need for lumbar fusion surgery.

Back fusion diagram.png

Plaintiff’s perspective: The Defendant’s careless driver ran into the Plaintiff when she was doing nothing wrong. They admitted they were at fault, now are trying to avoid paying for a surgery that she needs to get back to health. Plaintiff will need $325,000 to pay her medical bills and be adequately compensated for her pain.

Defendant’s perspective: Our driver made a mistake, and we are willing to make Plaintiff whole again. However, this was a minor impact, and now after hiring a lawyer Plaintiff claims to need a major back surgery. She has returned to full activity after the accident, and we do not believe that she will ever have the surgery, so $175,000 would fairly compensate her.

Why 1 Hour Mediation Worked:

Juror feedback example

Juror feedback example

Each party thought they knew how a local jury would consider the need for surgery, but neither side was able persuade the other side to change their valuation. We presented a brief outline of the key facts and arguments to 10 laypeople from the trial venue, and asked for their opinions. Equipped with this objective feedback as a reference point, the parties quickly settled for $200,000.

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