How do you pick a personal injury attorney? After all, there are so many advertisements out there. And many of us don’t know how to pick one. Here are five things you should know about picking a personal injury attorney.

So your mediation is coming up. What’s a mediation? A mediation is an opportunity for you to try to settle your case without going forward with a litigation. It offers you an opportunity to resolve the case today for an amount that you are aware of rather than taking the risk of going onto trial. Trials are sometimes very unpredictable. You may win, you may lose, they are hard to know. The advantage of a mediation is at the end of the day you will know what you’re going to wind up with at the end. Here are some things you should know about mediation.

1) You don’t have to say anything at all. The attorneys will do all of the talking. Usually what happens is we all sit around a table. The mediator will say certain things including the fact that he is not a judge and cannot make any decisions regarding the mediation. He is simply there to facilitate a possible settlement. The other thing that you need to know is that usually the plaintiff’s attorney will talk about what they think is strong about the case. The defense will then talk about what they think is weak about the case and why they shouldn’t have to spend a lot of money to settle it. Then you separate into different rooms and usually we don’t see the other side for the rest of the day. While the mediator goes back and forth trying to hammer out a settlement.

So number one was that you don’t need to say anything at all. So you don’t need to be concerned that anybody is going to ask any questions of you.

2) There is no requirement that you settle your case at mediation. In fact many cases don’t settle at mediation. It doesn’t mean that it’s not going settle before you go to trial. There’s plenty of opportunities to settle a case and mediation is not the only one. Sometimes it’s just the first step toward a mediation. But ultimately it’s always your decision. You can decide to settle or not. It’s your case. You decide.

3) There will be plenty of time to discuss during the mediation whether you want to settle. You’re not going to have to make a decision like that on whether you want to settle a case. You’ll have plenty of opportunity to talk to your attorney and the attorney should discuss with you the pros and cons of the case and whether or not he thinks it’s a wise settlement. But regardless, it’s always your decision. It is, after all, your case.

4) During the mediation, if an offer is made, we’ll have an opportunity to discuss with you how much you will wind up with in your pocket at the end of the day. Keep in mind, that if a case gets settled, you still need to pay attorney’s fees, you have to pay attorneys cost, there are doctors who probably have to be paid, and there may be liens. If you had health insurance, or Medicare or Medicaid, they are entitled to be repaid part of what they paid out for your medical care. That’s something that you have to consider. At the end of the day, your attorney should be able to tell you about how much will wind up in your pocket should you decide to settle the case at a particular number.

5) Keep in mind that this is a negotiation. It starts with the defense offering you too little, but frankly, us asking for a little too much. Over the course of the day, we go through what I call ‘the dance’ – they come up a little, we come down a little. Hopefully at the end of the day there is a settlement that you feel that you can accept and that is appropriate for your case. You can always ask questions.

So, that’s five things that you should know about your mediation. Again, number one – you don’t have to say anything. Number two – it’s your decision whether you settle. Number three – there’s plenty of time to discuss whether or not you want to settle. Number four – how much you will wind up with in your pocket at the end of the day is a critical consideration for you and you need to know that. Number five – it’s a negotiation, it can be demoralizing but very often at the end of the day, you can wind up with a settlement that you are happy with. Thank you.