If the parties to a legal dispute don’t want to go to court, there are several forms of “alternative dispute resolution” (referred to as “ADR”) to avoid that. Mediation is one but one form of ADR, but it quickly became the preeminent choice of parties and attorneys once ADR was adopted in Indiana in the early 1990’s. There are a couple of reasons for its success. First, a majority of the cases that went to mediation settled. Obviously, efficient case resolution is everyone’s goal. But every form of ADR ends in a resolution of some sort. The difference between mediation and all other ways to resolve a case is that mediation leaves the power over the outcome in the hands of the parties. If the parties go to trial, or to some other form of ADR such as arbitration or a mini trial, they turn the decision over to a third party to make a decision. A mediator does not have that power of the parties’ case. A mediator simply facilitates collaboration toward a settlement that the parties themselves agree to. In the end, everyone must agree with the outcome before it can settle.
All types of legal disputes are potential candidates for mediation; however, personal injury cases make up the majority of mediated disputes. Tom spent his years in Indianapolis representing insurance companies and their policyholders. Upon moving to Salem in 2001, he also began representing injured parties. Having represented both sides, Tom has a unique sense for understanding each side’s approach to evaluating cases. He is familiar with the internal claims evaluation process of insurance companies, yet understands the many difficulties injured parties have in recovering from physical injuries. Tom has taught collaborative negotiation classes at Indiana Wesleyan University as an adjunct instructor.
In 2007, Tom located his offices in a building he renovated on the southeast side of the Salem Courthouse Square. It has two floors and three conference rooms, allowing him to accommodate multiple parties for mediation. All types of disputes are welcome candidates.
Contact Thomas E Scifres at 812-896-1272 to schedule an appointment today, or browse our website for information regarding General Practice Areas or Mediation Services.