How Mediation Works In Texas Dram Shop Cases.
Before a dram shop case goes to trial most Texas courts will require that the plaintiffs and defendants mediate the case as a final attempt to avoid costly, drawn out, litigation. This is neither an admission of guilt, nor a tactic to compromise your ability to seek damages. It is rather a procedure that involves a less formal negotiation between the plaintiff and the defendant to seek a swift end to the whole ordeal.
With that being said, Grossman Law Offices sets the bar extremely high and expect the defendant to jump over it. Otherwise, we’ll take them to trial and get your damages that way. Most of the time, however, the defendant doesn’t want to go to trial against our firm due to our track record of success.
Questions answered on this page:
- What is mediation and why is it mportant?
- What role does the mediator play in a Texas Dram Shop mediation?
- What is the difference between mediation and a regular jury trial?
When you have a claim against a bar for injuries you sustained in a drunk driving accident, you have the burden of proving both that the bar caused your injuries and the extent to which you were injured. The mechanism by which you prove this is by filing a dram shop lawsuit.
After a lawsuit is filed, the claim is investigated, discovery is conducted (discovery is the legal process where the parties exchange information relating to the case), and then you present this information to the defendant along with a demand or a request for some amount of money that will make you whole. Naturally, most defendants will not just pony up the money requested. They will mount a defense and stonewall, forcing you to go to the courthouse. Mediation is a last preventative measure to avoid this route.
What is mediation and why is it important?
Mediation is an informal non binding meeting between the parties of a lawsuit. The plaintiff and all of the defendants are present, along with a mediator. It is an opportunity for all sides to get together, discuss the case, and hopefully negotiate a settlement, prior to going through the expense of trial. It is nonbinding because at the end of the mediation, both sides do not have to agree to settle the case. The mediator does not make a ruling the way a judge will at the end of trial.
Who is the mediator?
The mediator can be anyone, it is not a requirement of the law that he or she has any experience with the law, or with dram shop cases. However, usually the mediator is a former judge that has presided over hundreds of dram shop cases, and prior to becoming a judge, will have often litigated many of them as well. This is a person that understands the law in these cases, and how it works in your jurisdiction. The best mediators are people to whom both sides will listen, and both sides will respect their opinions of the claim.
How mediation works in Texas dram shop cases.
A mediation can be as short as a few hours or as long as a several days; most dram shop mediations last one day. Whether they are just a few hours or several days, mediations generally follow the same format. Mediation begins with a joint session and then the parties split up into individual caucuses.
At the joint session, both sides will have the opportunity to make a presentation about their case. Most attorneys will use this to let the other side know why they think they have a good case. Usually, this is a very short presentation because discovery has already been exchanged and both sides have a pretty good idea of the others case.
In the individual caucuses, the parties are split up into their own private rooms and the mediator goes back and forth to each side discussing the facts of the claim both good and bad, and how those facts relate to the law. The mediator will also convey offers back and forth. This is where the influence of a mediator is often at its highest. As he or she is discussing how the law relates to the facts of the case, the mediator will let the the parties know what he or she thinks will happen in court. The mediator may say, “as I understand the case, this could be really bad for your client, you may want to raise this offer,” to the defense. Or he or she may say to the plaintiff, “your case is not as strong as you think, and here is why…” The plaintiff may then choose to reduce their demand.
If all parties can agree to a settlement, it’s written up, submitted to the Court and the case is essentially over. If settlement is not reached, the mediator will write a mediator’s proposal. A mediator’s proposal is a written compromise that the mediator suggests both sides accept. Remember mediation is nonbinding, so the mediator’s proposal is just a suggestion. At that point, if the mediator’s proposal is not heeded the case then proceeds to trial.Why The Law Holds Bars Accountable For Drunk Driving Accidents Read More >
How Grossman Law Offices is different.
At Grossman Law Offices, we approach mediation differently than most firms. First, we don’t take a case as far as mediation without the intent to take it all the way to trial. Our approach to the joint session is not to do a quick presentation and then hope the other side makes a good offer. Rather, we bombard the defense with our evidence, provide them the expert reports, witness statements, medical records, and in some cases we will do video presentations. Our joint sessions are often several hours long. They are mini versions of what we will present at trial. So why do we go through that much trouble during the initial joint session?
We want to drive home to the defense how strong our case actually is, and to make certain that they know we are prepared to go the distance for you, our client. However, this is not the main reason we do it. We do it to influence and educate the mediator. Remember the mediator is usually someone who fully understands dram shop cases. He/She is someone who is well respected and will be listened to by both sides. When we show the mediator how strong your case is, the mediator can then almost become an additional advocate for you. This allows us to be on the offensive during the individual caucuses, to drive the negotiating process and in the end, get better offers and better results on your claim.
In order for your dram shop case to have any chance of success you must find a competent and experienced attorney to help you with your case. You need an attorney that will take full advantage of every aspect of every part of the legal process to achieve a positive result for you. The drunk driving and dram shop attorneys of Grossman Law Offices have mediated countless dram shop cases, and sued lots of bars in dram shop cases and been very successful for their clients. If you need any help with your dram shop case call us toll free at (855) 326-0000.
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