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How to Win at Personal Injury Mediation

Seth Harris

Last modified on November 24, 2023

How to Win at Personal Injury Mediation

Many New York personal injury cases are settled in mediation. It is a guided negotiation process that aims to help the parties reach a settlement agreement outside of court. Mediation may be court-ordered. Or the parties may agree to try it before trialing the case.

You may be able to get a better deal in mediation than you otherwise would. Also, you remain in control of the process. Our clients often ask us how to win at mediation in a personal injury case. Winning looks different for everyone. Let’s look at how the New York personal injury lawyers from Harris Keenan & Goldfarb can help you achieve your best outcome.

What Happens in Mediation?

Mediation is overseen by a neutral mediator trained to help both parties reach a compromise. They usually have a law background and familiarity with New York personal injury laws. The mediator is often a retired judge or former lawyer. Each side may make an opening statement, laying out their case and evidence to support their claim.

Once each side makes their opening statement, then negotiations begin. You may have already submitted your settlement demand to the other party in a letter drafted by your New York personal injury lawyer. Negotiations are usually about the dollar amount the plaintiff seeks. However, your claim could include other concessions you wish the defendant to make.

What Does Winning a Personal Injury Mediation Look Like?

Unlike a trial, mediation doesn’t necessarily have a winner and a loser. Winning, in your case, could mean receiving the settlement amount you asked for or something close to it. Or it could mean that the defendant admitted their wrongdoing and apologized to you for the harm they caused you.

Your lawyer may help prepare you for mediation and manage your expectations by helping you prioritize your demands. This means you may have a best-possible scenario, a good outcome scenario, and then your “bottom dollar” or a compromise you can live with. You may also wish to establish your walk-away point before going into mediation, the point where you feel more comfortable taking the case to trial.

You may even consider mediation a win if you reach a settlement agreement, even if the settlement doesn’t include everything you want. Trials can be long, painful, and intimidating. They can also be costly and last anywhere from a few days to weeks or months if the case is extremely complex.

How to Win a Personal Injury Mediation Hearing

Preparation is the best way to feel like you walked away with a win at mediation. This starts with establishing your priorities and knowing when it’s time to walk away.

Mediation isn’t the place to put forth new evidence unless something suddenly becomes available or your medical condition suddenly worsens. However, you should come prepared with documents and other evidence that supports your case, like your total medical bills showing the cost for that part of your compensation and other documents that prove the other side was negligent.

Keeping your cool can help you get the best possible compromise. If you’re respectful and cooperative, the other party may be more likely to be so.

You may also have a better chance for a “win” if you allow your lawyer to negotiate for you. Many personal injury lawyers, like ours, have been trained in negotiations. They’re less emotionally attached to the case and so may get a better deal than you could by yourself.

Don’t be afraid to be creative. In mediation, you have the opportunity to think outside of the box to reach a compromise. If there are certain sticking points, you and the other party can talk through them and see if there is any middle ground you can agree on.

What Happens if Mediation Fails?

Usually, if mediation, court-ordered or voluntary, fails, the case moves to trial. Personal injury claims are litigated in civil court, not criminal court. But there will still be a judge and probably a jury. Each side will present its arguments and evidence supporting it. Your attorney will have the opportunity to question the defendant’s witnesses and verify the truth of their evidence. Then, each side makes a closing argument, and the jury deliberates.

The jury may find in your favor and give you full compensation according to your demands, or they may find in favor of the defense, and you may walk away with nothing. Or, the jury may agree that the defendant was liable for your injuries but award you a different amount of compensation than you requested. The matter is final once the judge approves the jury’s decision.

Do I Need a Personal Injury Lawyer to Win at Mediation?

How to Win at Personal Injury Mediation

You aren’t required to have a lawyer for mediation. However, many people feel most comfortable with a trained attorney by their side. It can be nerve-wracking going into negotiations. There’s a good chance that a lawyer will represent the defendant, so having your own can help level the playing field. If the defendant is a corporation or healthcare facility, there’s a chance they have an entire legal team defending their interests.

Your attorney can advise you whether an offer is good or whether they think the defendant is lowballing you. They may also be able to advise you about different options to achieve a settlement, suggestions you may not have thought of on your own.

Contact Our Law Firm Today for a Free Case Review

Have you been harmed and suffered a loss due to the negligence of another person or entity? You could demand compensation from the other party to cover your medical care, lost wages from work, and pain and suffering from your injuries. We can help you.

A personal injury lawyer from Harris Keenan & Goldfarb can help gather evidence to support your claim, file a lawsuit for you, and handle the legal matters relating to it. They can also communicate with the defendant on your behalf, negotiate a settlement, and help you through mediation and trial. Contact us today at 1-800-PAIN-LAW for a free consultation.

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Over $500 Million in Verdicts and Settlements

Our track record showcases over $500 million won for our clients. Each victory underlines our commitment to justice and client care. Explore our impact, case by case.



A Brooklyn jury awarded Mr. Vargas $17.5 million for the City of New York’s violation of his civil rights for failing to provide him medical care while in custody. The jury found that the police officers involved failed to provide the necessary medical treatment and awarded $17.5 million to Mr. Vargas.



Harris Keenan & Goldfarb partners Seth Harris and Sheri Holland obtained a $4,730,398.00 jury verdict on behalf of our client who tripped and fell at a private apartment building in the Bronx, suffering a broken foot that developed a very painful, permanent neurological condition called Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (“RSD”).



A Bronx jury awarded John Doe over $12 million for an accident on a construction site. John Doe was working when a piece of scaffold weighing 35 pounds fell, striking John Doe in the lower back. John Doe suffered a herniated disc requiring surgical removal of a portion of the disc and permanent nerve damage.



A Bronx jury awarded $10.5 million to the mother of Malcolm Ferguson, who was wrongfully shot and killed by the New York City Police Department. The police officer, Louis Rivera, also a defendant in the case, was found to have used excessive force in violation of Malcolm Ferguson’s civil rights as protected under the United States Constitution.



A Bronx jury awarded plaintiff William Cardoza $4 million for injuries caused by the use of excessive force during an arrest. During the arrest, Mr. Cardoza was pepper-sprayed and repeatedly hit with a police nightstick. As a result, Mr. Cardoza sustained injuries to his hand and finger.



The firm’s client, a 33-year-old teacher’s assistant, was scalded by an espresso machine that exploded while the defendant’s employee was demonstrating how the machine worked. The client was a customer at the defendant’s coffee shop on the date of the accident and suffered first-degree burns to her right (dominant) hand.



The firm represented the mother- decedent and her infant son. During the decedent’s admission to the defendant hospital, the defendant dispensed anesthesia during an epidural to the decedent in an inadequate manner. The mother-decedent suffered personal injuries and wrongful death due to the defendant’s failure to properly administer epidural anesthesia.



Mr.Brennan fell from approximately 25 feet while working on a construction project. He suffered a shattered bone in his right leg requiring surgery and hardware placement. Mr. Brennan also suffered two fractures in his facial bones, and a dislocated finger requiring surgical repair.



The firm’s client was a child with cerebral palsy who was injured as a result of medical malpractice. The firm’s clients claimed improper management of pregnancy, labor, and delivery resulting in brain damage, and received a Brooklyn personal injury settlement.



The firm’s client, a 63-year-old mentally incompetent man, slipped and fell in his own urine while attempting to walk to the bathroom at the defendant’s senior citizen home. The client fractured his hip and as a result is confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life. The client claimed that the staff of the home failed to properly care for him, and the jury awarded $1,677,835.



The firm’s client, a 47-year-old male, slipped and fell on a public sidewalk in the Bronx. It had snowed four to five days prior to the date of the accident, and the sidewalk was covered with ice. The client suffered a lumbar fracture and a herniated disc. The jury found the city liable and awarded the client a $2,995,000 personal injury settlement in the Bronx.



A Bronx jury awarded plaintiff Luis Molina $2.61 million for injuries sustained when he fell down a subway station stairway. Mr. Molina was caused to slip and fall as a result of a plastic bag that had blown onto the steps from a street opening. As a result of the fall, Mr. Molina suffered a herniated disc and a tear of his right shoulder’s rotator cuff. The jury found that the NYC Transit Authority was liable for the accident.



A Bronx jury awarded Ms. Colon $2.25 million for a trip and fall accident. Ms. Colon was caused to fall when she moved to the right to allow another pedestrian to pass, and her foot rolled to the outside due to the sidewalk being unlevel with the adjoining grass. The jury found the defendant liable and awarded Ms. Colon $2,253,714.00 for her pain and suffering.



A Brooklyn jury awarded Arvella Floyd $1.9 million for a fractured wrist which required multiple surgeries, including an open-reduction internal fixation and a carpal tunnel release. Ms. Floyd was injured when the hot water knob of the shower fell off after numerous complaints to the superintendent, and scalding water spewed toward her, causing her to
fall and break her wrist.



A Bronx jury awarded plaintiff Juanita Young $1,350,000 for injuries caused by the use of excessive force during an arrest. During the arrest, Ms. Young, who is legally blind, was handcuffed from behind, with her children watching, and taken to the top of the stairs to exit the building. The officer proceeded to push her down the stairs multiple times.

What Our Clients Say About Us

00:47 22 Jun 24
I contacted Burns and Harris, this company which is renamed now, about two years ago about my injury. I even had an in person meeting with Stephen LaRocca.I had to chase him for a year just to sign something, in the end I just gave up. Pretty appalling company and even worse than people have written. I can only imagine the people who haven’t taken the time to write your review. Don’t bother with them.
Cole ColdwaterCole Coldwater
19:36 20 Jun 24
My experience with Harris Keenan and Goldfarb was wonderful. My legal representative, Steven LaRocca with Samantha Walton always made me feel well defended and cared for, in a way that went beyond professional representation and into the realm of caring about me on a personal level. Steven, Samantha and Seth Harris got me a great outcome and I can’t thank them enough!
Elizabeth SantosElizabeth Santos
00:32 20 Jun 24
If I could give them a zero Star I would 0
Jennifer RosarioJennifer Rosario
14:16 05 Jun 24
The best law firm I have ever went with thank you so much
Angelo Del GuercioAngelo Del Guercio
20:03 11 May 24
Horrible people. I lost complete confidence in this firm. Attorneys dragged their feet for 4 years and my mom died before a settlement could be reached. I advised them several times that my mom was sick to put fire under their feet but the effort was to no avail.
david Santiagodavid Santiago
18:05 21 Mar 24
Maria RoqueMaria Roque
20:49 15 Mar 24
Excellent person, very Professional, they assist you in any language, your call is always answered. I recommend you for any case of support you have, your refund is satisfactory. and fast
14:09 02 Mar 24
I am completely satisfied, and recommend Harris Keenan & Goldfarb as Attorneys to represent anyone. Their care for me physically, and overall helped me stay strong in spite of my injuries. Always available to answer questions, and inform.They got me Justice, and achieved a substantial outcome for my case.I am very impressed, and thankful for their outstanding performance on my behalf.I am very pleased, and significantly satisfied with their representation.‐-Sherylon Wilkins
Robert LennonRobert Lennon
15:26 21 Feb 24
Patient and diligence is how I describe the effort of HKG the work was thorough, honest and fair, I have no complaints. Special thanks to attorney Blake and his paralegal Thierry.
Gene Matos (fanboye)Gene Matos (fanboye)
18:48 15 Jan 24
I first crossed paths with Seth Harris when serving jury duty many years ago. He was so professional and personable, that when my mom was seeking legal counsel for medical malpractice, I told her she had to reach out to his firm. We had meetings with a few different firms, but Harris Keenan & Goldfarb was the only firm that did not try to get us to sign paperwork before even meeting. They took the time to listen and understand our situation before we signed anything, and they were transparent and responsive the whole time. I would like to give special thanks to Samantha Walton, Marla Stein, Val Wallace and Seth Harris for helping my mom through this tough time. They were honest and upfront, and even though Seth Harris wasn't personally on the case, he took the time to meet with us and give us his thoughts on it.
Solange IsaacSolange Isaac
17:52 08 Jan 24
I am pleased with the services provided by Ms Sheri on my case. The team at Harris, Keenan, & Goldfarb were very nice and explained everything to me. Everything that I had questions on they answered without frustration and were prompt and knowledgeable.6 years ago I had a slip and fall accident at my employers place of business. I reached out to them because I knew that I was being wrongfully treated. They took care of the case, restored my self confidence, and brought so much peace to my problem riddled life.I can recommend without a shadow of a doubt the services of Harris, Keenan & Goldfarb to anyone who is in need of someone who will have your back!
Brittany DempseyBrittany Dempsey
16:02 08 Jan 24
My mother had an accident with her ankle back in 2019. I immediately contacted Harris, Keenan & Goldfarb on the day of the accident. They were extremely prompt and helpful. They attended to my mother's case beautifully and she's been recovering well. I'd like to thank you for being so diligent, kind and above all professional. I'd recommend this law firm to anyone who are injured and in need of legal assistance. My mother, Andrea, and I thank you for everything.
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