All five of us who attended the meeting, including me, were dressed nicely—all were male and dressed in some kind of business suit including a tie. So, there was an air of general respectfulness and professionalism about the room and exchange. All of us are well educated and articulate. So, the appearance of the exchanges seemed one of reason and professionalism.
There was no yelling involved at any time. We all seemed to understand this was a mediation session at which each side would present its case and look to the mediator for objectivity in assessing reasonableness. The volume was a normal conversational volume, as if it were a group of professionals discussing something serious.
Between the dress and vocal tone, my mirror neurons were engaged; I looked and seemed to behave as the attorneys did. My educational background compared well to theirs as well.
Several years prior to this accident, I was involved in another accident that resulted in whiplash. I had done some research on normal factors involved in awarding a settlement based on the sum of the related medical bills. So, I had an idea of what may be considered reasonable. Beyond that experience, I had never had a legal experience beyond paying traffic fines without making a court appearance.
I respected that my attorneys were well educated in the law, and I respected that the mediator also was well trained and experienced. I trusted that they would not try to take advantage of me. I understood the insurance company representative was representing the other side and would try to negotiate within his company’s interests.
My reward neurons were engaged at the prospect of a settlement, having an idea of what it may be, based on memories stored in my hippocampus of that previous experience.