Mediation in Legal Disputes

Mediation is a process in which parties come together to try to resolve a legal dispute.  In Florida, mediation is ordered by the court in every personal injury case when a lawsuit is filed.  Below is an outline of what to expect during the mediation process.

The Mediator

A mediator is a neutral third-party person who is selected by all parties to facilitate the mediation conference.  The mediator does not have an interest in the outcome nor are they affected if the personal injury case does not resolve. The mediator’s job is to point out the pros and cons of each side of the case and assist the parties in coming to a settlement of the personal injury case.  While mediators do not have to be licensed attorneys in the State of Florida, it is imperative to have a mediator that is experienced with personal injury cases.

Mediation Process

Mediation begins with opening statements.  These are not opening statements that would occur at trial.  Rather, the opening statements are a review of each party’s position.  As a personal injury client, you do not provide the opening.  The opening statements are done by the attorneys.  Once the opening statements are complete, the parties are sent in separate rooms where they remain for the duration of the mediation.     If the mediation is being conducted by zoom, then the mediator will create breakout rooms, where each party and their respective attorneys will be placed to ensure privacy during the mediation conference.  The mediator will then go room to room communicating each party’s demands and offers until the case is resolved and settled or the case ends in an impasse.  An impasse occurs when the parties were unable to agree on the resolution of the case.

Who Attends Mediation

In a personal injury case, the parties to the lawsuit are required to attend the mediation. In addition to the parties, the attorneys for each respective party and the mediator will attend.  Also present will be a representative of the insurance company that is providing coverage to the party who is being sued.  Typically, the individual who has been sued in the lawsuit does not attend mediation as they are represented by the insurance company.  Typically, the insurance company for the party who has been sued makes all financial decisions for the personal injury case including how much money they decide to offer at the mediation conference.

What If my Case Does Not Settle at Mediation?

If your personal injury case does not settle or resolve at mediation, then there will be other opportunities to resolve the case between mediation and the date in which trial is scheduled to occur.  Your personal injury attorney will continue to prepare your case for trial.  However, mediation is not the only time a case can resolve prior to trial. The litigation process is a continual negotiation process and opportunities arise for settlement even after mediation.

If you have been injured in a car accident, Snedaker Law’s attorney are ready to assist you.  Snedaker Law has the experience to handle a personal injury claim from start to finish, including conducting mediation.