Mediation and Conflict Resolution

Posted Monday, December 04, 2017 by Ed Harper

Mediation is, “The act or process of mediating; especially intervention between conflicting parties to promote reconciliation, settlement, or compromise (Merriam-Webster.com).

Conflict resolution is a skill everyone should have. The ability to reconcile differences is important to the ongoing social makeup of our society. Seeing the view of the other side, and seeing their perspective is an integral part of resolving one’s disputes.

Today, in our modern society, obtaining justice, and establishing “my rights” is the ultimate ideal. Justice is vastly important, and I think when there has been injustice, wrongs should be addressed. However, when a dispute is to be reconciled, one must often take the log out of their own eye before they can truly see the other side’s perspective, and true resolution can be reached.

As a personal injury lawyer I have often been a participant in mediation. Typically a person will have an injury claim, and an insurance company will attempt to place a value on that claim. The injured person is offered and then ultimately provided compensation in exchange for a release of all claims. Often during the mediation of a personal injury claim, the mediator will explain the risks compared with the benefits of going forward to trial. The risks include the possibility a jury will not have the same value of the injury and thus provide a low amount of compensation due to facts the injured person did not consider. This effort by the mediator is to have the injured person see the perspective of jury and/or the insurance adjuster on the other side. While all claims are different, and some injury claims do not have the same gravity as other issues to be resolved, resolving a personal injury claim is a good example of how one who has suffered at the hands of another, through no fault of their own, can begin to heal when they see the other side’s, or the jury’s, perspective.

Healing, both emotionally and physically, from an injustice can only begin after one sees the perspective of the other side. In essence there are two sides to every coin and by looking at only one side of a dispute, one becomes myopic and self-absorbed. They cannot see the whole picture when they cannot see both sides of the coin. I am a proponent of mediation as it can spark the beginning of the healing process. Seek peace and resolve your disputes. Be a catalyst for reconciliation.

Discourage litigation. Persuade your neighbors to compromise whenever you can. Point out to them how the nominal winner is often the ultimate loser — in fees, expenses, and time lost. “As a peacemaker the lawyer has a superior opportunity of being a good man or woman. There will still be business enough.” - Abraham Lincoln.

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Harper Law PLLC
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Phone: 425.284.3333
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