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NEGOTIATING WITH POWER - WE ARE ALL ECUADOR

ecuador.jpgBefore I transferred to Yale University, I obtained my Associates degree at Rockland Community College in Suffern, New York. I was Student Senate Treasurer and Chair of the Political Activities Club, but the position I enjoyed the most was President of the Model United Nations Club. We would meet regularly to learn how a deliberative body operates. We drafted resolutions, practiced parliamentary procedure, and engaged in sometimes heated debates.

Every year there is a National Intercollegiate Model United Nations. The year I attended, my school was assigned Ecuador. We were tasked with learning all there is to know about this small South American country, from its economy to its geography. Mostly, we were advised to find out what issues were important to Ecuador in the field of international relations. In preparing we learned an interesting fact. Ecuador was one of the few countries in the world that claimed territorial rights to the geostationary orbit above its national boundaries. That means they asserted the right to stop you from placing a satellite in orbit over their country.

When we arrived at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Manhattan, the whole scene was overwhelming. There were thousands of kids from hundreds of schools - each representing a country. Georgetown was the United States. Harvard was the Soviet Union (this was 1988 and the Cold War was still on). Rockland Community College was Ecuador. Nobody cared about Ecuador and nobody had any reason to listen to our concerns. How could we possibly hope to accomplish any of our goals?

We decided as a team to focus all of our attention on the geostationary orbit issue. We developed a strategy that involved ceaselessly learning what other delegations wanted and offering our support in exchange for their support on protecting Ecuador's rights to the orbital space above its borders. We talked to everybody, both during the scheduled events and during social time.

There were hundreds of proposed resolutions. Most died in committee, but many passed through to the General Assembly. There were resolutions on trade, human rights, the environment, and just about every other issue you could imagine. One of the resolutions that made it though committee was an unlikely proposal made by a small South American nation to protect its sovereignty over its orbital space.

None of the other schools really had a position on our issue. They probably hadn't considered the issue at all before we brought it up. We used that to our advantage by finding out what was important to them and trading our support for theirs. After all, we were Ecuador. We really didn't care about global CO2 emissions or trade embargoes. Ultimately I was able to make a rousing speech to the Assembly on the rights of all people to their property, and on the justice of our position, but it wasn't my speech that won the day. It was the tireless work of listening to the other participants, finding out what they wanted, and giving them a reason to support our cause. In the end, our resolution passed and we won an award as one of the most effective delegations at the event.

When it comes to your personal injury claim you are Ecuador. The big insurance companies are the superpowers and they don't care about you. So how do you get what you want - a fair recovery for your injuries? You have to listen to them and find out what they want and what they fear, then make a compelling case that it is in their own best interest to offer you a fair settlement. That's what negotiation is. We prepare your case for trial so the insurance company can see the risk they face from a jury. It is only after we persuade them of their risk that they will make you a reasonable offer. Sometimes all it takes is a well prepared demand. Sometimes they need to hear from the experts we have hired on your behalf. Sometimes nothing we say ourselves is enough to persuade them, but hearing it from an impartial outsider (a mediator) will get them to change their tune. Finally, sometimes we can have a neutral decision maker (an arbitrator) decide for us what your claim is worth without the need to go to trial. Of course we may have to try your case, but throughout this process, it is our single-minded focus to get the best possible recovery for your claim, just like it was our single-minded focus at Rockland Community College to get support for our orbit issue when we really were Ecuador.

When you have the right team on your side, working toward a single purpose, there is really no limit to what we can accomplish.

Got questions about the negotiation process or about personal injury claims in general? Check out our website or give us a call and get the peace of mind you deserve.

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