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Litigating a personal injury claim, particularly when the injured plaintiff's hard, calculable damages are relatively nominal (less than $10,000), will often fail a "cost-benefit" analysis. In other words, the probable amount of a jury's verdict will not be sufficient to warrant the expense to the injured plaintiff necessary to obtain that jury verdict. If a verdict is likely to be in the range of $10,000 - $15,000, and your attorney is going to receive a one-third contingency fee, what reasonably prudent person is going to spend $5,000 or more, in the hope of receiving a net of $7,500? It simply does not make good business sense.

At the same time, an innocent plaintiff, who is injured due to the carelessness of another, is clearly entitled to receive "full and fair compensation" for those injuries and related losses. However, the practical reality is that such injured person will have to spend a considerable amount of hard-earned, after-tax dollars, simply to have the right to ask a jury of seven strangers to award enough money to make it all financially worthwhile.

So, is this simply a dilemma without an answer? One highly-successful answer has been the concept of mediation. Here's how it works in Virginia:

The parties and their attorneys agree to hire a mediator, who is usually a retired judge. The mediation session occurs at a mutually-convenient date. At the mediation, the injured plaintiff and his/her attorney are "housed" in one room, separated from the responsible person, his/her attorney, and a representative from his/her liability insurance company.

Through the process of "shuttle diplomacy" the plaintiff's settlement demands, and the insurance company's settlement offers, are exchanged through the mediator. When one side becomes recalcitrant or unreasonable in his/her position on any given issue, the mediator/judge will often weigh in with his/her years of experience, and perhaps suggest alternatives to those unyielding positions. History has shown that almost 85% of personal injury cases are eventually settled at this mediation session.

Mediation has become a viable, and cost-effective, alternative to litigating a personal injury claim through the court process. Perhaps the most beneficial aspect of this option, however, is the fact that the uncertainty of a jury determination is removed, and the injured person has the ability to decide for himself or herself precisely how much money truly represents "full and fair" compensation for their injuries.

Contact any attorney at The Duff Law Firm, for a complimentary 30-minute decision about your particular personal injury claim, and the possibility of pursuing a mediated resolution.

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Duff & Kronfeld, P.C.
11320 Random Hills Road, Suite 630
Fair Oaks Commerce Center
Fairfax, VA 22030

Phone: 703-591-7475
Fax: 703-273-4537
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