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What is Facilitation and How to Prepare for Facilitation

You may be wondering when your case will ever end. One of the most common ways that a lawsuit ends is through a process called facilitation.

The dictionary definition of a facilitation is “the process of making something possible or easier“.  (Courtesy of Cambridge Dictionary)

The dictionary definition of a facilitator is “a person who helps a group of people work together and to achieve common objectives. In doing so the facilitator remains “neutral” and they do not take a particular position in the discussion“. (Courtesy of Cambridge Dictionary)

As a case approaches trial, the judge will often order that the parties enter into a facilitation. Commonly, the parties agree to, or the judge appoints, a facilitator to act as a neutral person to try to work our (or facilitate) a resolution of the disputes between the parties to a lawsuit.

The facilitator is generally a person who has extensive experience in the field of personal injury. These days it seems as though many former judges are now choosing to act as a facilitator after they have stopped working as a judge or retired from the bench. Additionally, there are many attorneys who now act as facilitators often after they have completed a long career in the personal injury field.

Once a facilitator is picked, the facilitator will begin distributing dates to the attorneys and a date will be chosen for the facilitation.

The facilitation is supposed to represent the last best chance for the parties to resolve a case prior to a trial date. Each party is tasked with coming to the facilitation with the maximum authority that they could possibly have to resolve the case.  Additionally, the Plaintiff should come to the facilitation with an open mind and a willingness to listen to the facilitator.

Each party to the facilitation will provide the facilitator with a facilitation summary. The Plaintiff’s facilitation summary lays out the position of the injured victim.  It explains how the accident happened, the injuries sustained, the treatment since the accident and the way that the accident has impacted the life of the victim.  It also provides the facilitator with information regarding how much is owed in medical bills, liens, and any plans for future medical treatment that may be occurring.

What Happens on the Facilitation Day?

Facilitation’s are conducted in many different ways.

In-Person Facilitation

A facilitation conducted live can take place at the office of the facilitator or at any attorney’s office.  It may also take place at a neutral location such as the courthouse.  Each party will be given its own conference room or office to sit and discuss the case privately. The facilitator will often go between the offices or conference rooms to discuss each respective position of the parties. It is also not uncommon for the facilitator to pull the attorneys out and speak to them either individually or all of the attorneys as a group. As the facilitation proceeds, the facilitator will begin exchanging offers and counter offers between the parties until the parties either resolve or agree to end the facilitation without resolution.

Zoom Facilitation

If facilitation is being conducted via zoom, each party will be given its own breakout room to sit and discuss the case in the same way that they would in a live, in person, facilitation. The facilitation will be conducted in virtually the same way as an in person facilitation except via zoom conferencing.

Telephone Facilitation

A telephone facilitation, is the least formal facilitation type. Here, the facilitator will act as an intermediary between the parties via telephone conference. If this in this scenario, your attorney will contact you with offers and counter offers as the facilitation proceeds.

What Happens if The Parties Cannot Come to a Settlement During the Facilitation?

In some cases, the parties are so far apart that a facilitation settlement is not possible. In this scenario, either the parties can agree to just proceed toward trial or agree to discuss the matter again later. Multiple facilitations prior to trial are not uncommon.

Facilitator’s Recommendation

If the parties cannot resolve the lawsuit via the facilitation on the date of the facilitation, the facilitator may offer to send the parties a number that he or she believe should adequately and fairly resolve the case.  A facilitator will issue an opinion as to his or her belief as to what the lawsuit should settle for. In this scenario, the facilitator will usually issue their opinion within a week of the facilitation and give the parties at least a week or two to decide whether they wish to accept or reject the facilitator’s recommendation. If both sides accept the facilitator’s recommendation the case settles for that amount of money. If either party rejects the recommendation there is no settlement and the case proceed forward towards trial.

How to Prepare for Your Facilitation

You should provide your attorney with any and all medical bills or liens that you have that you believe that your attorney may not have regarding your accident. These bills should be given to your attorney in advance of the facilitation.

Additionally, you should make your attorney aware of any changes in your medical condition or plans for future treatment that may have changed since the last time you spoke to your attorney.

Keep in mind that your attorney is preparing a facilitation summary that is designed to make the facilitator aware of any past, present and future medical treatment, medical bills, and liens that you have, or may incur into the future. A settlement against a third-party represents a one time settlement so it is important to make sure that your attorney has all of the information that you have regarding your plans for future medical treatment.

There is No Reason to be Nervous

A facilitation may represent the end of your case…which can be a big relief mentally and financially.  However, your attorney will do all of the talking.  You will not be “put on the spot” or questioned at any time.  Your attorney will be discussing the negotiations with you during the facilitation.

Hopefully your facilitation will result in a full and final resolution of your injury case.

Get David Get Paid

If you are looking for a personal injury attorney who can represent you with trust and confidence then contact David Femminineo today – Get David Get Paid.

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Femminineo Law, PLLC is Michigan’s finest personal injury firm. He has succeeded in recovering hundreds of millions of dollars for victims of highway accidents, medical malpractice, slips and falls, and for wrongful death matters throughout the State of Michigan.

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