The Purpose of Mediation

Posted Monday, March 26, 2018 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, or at least seek to have. Seeing the view of the other side, and seeing their perspective is an integral part of resolving one’s disputes. As the Bible says, “If possible, as far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” (Romans 12:18).

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 for a personal injury claim, the mediator will explain the risks compared with the benefits of going forward to trial. The risks may include the possibility that a jury will not have the same value of the injury and thus provide a lower 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.

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, true resolution can only be reached when both sides are not only worried about their own well-being, but also attempt to see how the other side may benefit.

Healing, both emotionally and physically, from an injustice can only begin after one sees the perspective of the other side. In essence, there is not always a right or wrong opinion, so one must not become 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 always sparks 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. “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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