Before commencing costly and time-consuming litigation, arbitration or mediation to settle a complex case, a plaintiff attorney and his or her client should form an unbiased, objective and informed evaluation as to damages. This is best done by having the attorney and client engage the services of a third party to value the amount of potential damages. On the other side of the coin, a defense attorney will want to get an up-front, unbiased, realistic analysis of their client’s exposure.
Litigation consultants with skill sets and damage analysis experience are very well qualified to perform this objective review. Attorneys and their clients should look for professionals with the specialized knowledge and investigative skills needed to gather, interpret, analyze, and evaluate economically based evidentiary material and records and to help counsel and the client estimate the reasonable amount of damages. This includes identifying the important issues and risk factors, making informed assumptions and analyzing the range of reasonable damages. This type of analysis will enable the attorney and his or her client to understand the amount of damages that can be expected (assuming liability and causation are established) before presenting or defending their case at a trial, arbitration or mediation in an adversarial manner.
Neutral evaluations of a claim have many benefits. They can help (a) determine the best vehicle -- trial, arbitration or mediation -- in which to bring a claim; (b) provide the foundation for more cost-effective structures, including settlement; (c) assist in preparing a case for trial; (d) identify likely strategies of the other parties with respect to damages issues; and (e) make the critical determination as to whether or not a claim should be brought in the first place.
In addition, if the claim involves an insurance company, neutral evaluations can help the client from being exposed to a bad-faith claim. If the claim involves valuation issues, experienced litigation services valuation specialists can help evaluate the range of values that will be relevant as the litigation, arbitration or mediation process continues. A neutral evaluation is especially effective on large complex claims.
Of course, neutral evaluations can tremendously help in settlement negotiations. Rather than approach settlement negotiations with unrealistic ideas of amounts of damages and without first determining a reasonable settlement range, having a neutral evaluation performed by qualified litigation consultants can provide the right starting point for meaningful settlement negotiations and enable the attorney to set realistic goals for his or her client.