Fiol Law Group|Posted in Personal Injury on January 15, 2021
Mediation is one of the most efficient ways to resolve a personal injury claim. While a full-blown trial can take a great deal of time and money, mediation is fast and relatively inexpensive. It is a form of alternative dispute resolution that many parties use to achieve settlements and avoid the hassle of a trial. Here’s what to expect from the process if you choose personal injury mediation in Florida.
Consultation With an Attorney
Before you begin the personal injury lawsuit process, find a personal injury lawyer in Tampa to represent you. Hiring a lawyer for mediation can improve your odds of achieving a successful resolution, as your lawyer will use proven negotiation strategies during the meeting. A lawyer will make sure an insurance company does not take advantage of you during mediation and will not settle for less than your case is worth. Your lawyer can also represent you at trial if mediation fails to resolve your case.
The next step is to file your complaint against the party that caused your injury. Your complaint will most likely take the form of a demand letter mailed to the at-fault party’s insurance company. The demand letter will describe the accident, explain why you think the at-fault party is liable, list your losses, and state an amount for which you are willing to settle the matter. The recipient (known as the defendant) can either accept your claim or challenge it; the latter will lead to mediation.
Scheduling the Meeting
If the defendant’s insurance company does not accept your claim or will not offer an amount your lawyer believes is fair for your injuries, you will have to go through mediation. Mediation is something the law requires in Florida before a personal injury case can go to trial. You, the mediator, and the defendant will agree on a date, time, and location for the mediation session. It often takes place inside an attorney’s office or a conference room in the courthouse. In the meantime, your lawyer will prepare a summary of facts and arguments to get ready for mediation.
You Meet With the Defendant and a Mediator
You, your personal injury lawyer, the defendant, and his or her attorney will come together in front of a mediator. A mediator is someone who has special training in conflict resolution. It is a neutral third party who is typically a lawyer or retired judge. During mediation, three things will happen:
- Both parties will speak to the mediator about the case in the presence of the other party.
- Both parties will speak directly to each other with the mediator facilitating the exchange.
- Both parties will have the chance to speak to the mediator alone.
The mediator does not have the legal authority to make any decisions. He or she is simply there to encourage conversations and compromises between the parties. While a mediator can help them reach an agreement, he or she cannot issue a ruling or court order. The goal of mediation isn’t to prove that someone was right or wrong; it’s for both parties to resolve a dispute by agreeing on a settlement.
You Reach a Settlement or Go to Trial
If mediation succeeds and both sides of the case agree to a resolution, both will sign a settlement agreement. Signing the essential documents will resolve the case by barring the plaintiff from pursuing any further damages from the defendant for the same accident and injury in exchange for the agreed-upon settlement amount. If you settle via mediation, the defendant will write you a check for the amount agreed upon and your case will end there. If you cannot resolve your dispute through mediation, your personal injury case will return to court.
For more information about the mediation process, as well as for legal representation during mediation in Tampa, contact an attorney from Fiol Law Group.