What is Mediation in a Personal Injury Case?

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If you have a personal injury case, you may participate in mediation. At JustCallMoe, our Orlando personal injury attorney explains what mediation is and what you need to know to make the most of your mediation session.

What is Mediation in a Personal Injury Claim?

Mediation in a personal injury case is a facilitated settlement negotiation between parties to the case.

The session is guided by someone trained and neutral. The parties discuss settlement options and ways to resolve the case without trial.

Even when parties disagree, it may be possible to resolve a personal injury case with a settlement.

Certainly, the parties are free to discuss settlement directly with each other, and this is usually done by your attorney on your behalf. However, with a mediator, and in a formal setting, settlement negotiations may be more successful.

Mediation is a type of alternative dispute resolution (ADR). ADR helps parties resolve contested lawsuits in ways other than taking their cases to trial. Arbitration is another type of ADR.

When does mediation come into play?

Mediation comes into play late in a personal injury case. While it can occur anytime after a civil action has begun, it’s most effective after the parties have conducted discovery. It usually occurs before the last settlement conference and final trial preparation.

The Mediation Process

The process for mediation may vary, but it generally begins with everyone involved meeting together.

The mediator will introduce themselves and explain the rules for mediation. Usually, the plaintiff begins by presenting a summary of their claim and what they are seeking in compensation. The parties may negotiate directly, or they may separate into different rooms, with the mediator moving back and forth to facilitate communication.

Is mediation required in Florida civil cases?

Under Florida Statutes § 44.102, the court must order mediation if a party requests it. Medical malpractice cases and small claims are exceptions to the requirement. In addition to the request of a party, the court, on its own initiative, may order the parties to attend mediation.

Can you opt out of mediation in a Florida personal injury case?

Generally, if mediation is required in a Florida personal injury case, the parties must attend along with their attorneys. If there is a reason that you believe mediation would be inappropriate in your case, you may approach the court to request an exemption.

Does your attorney attend mediation with you?

Yes. Our attorneys always attend mediation with our clients. For the defense, there must be someone present at the mediation with authority to settle the case along with counsel.

Who chooses the mediator in a personal injury case?

Usually, the parties agree on a mediator from a list of approved mediators. If they cannot agree, the court will select a mediator.

Who pays for mediation?

If court-ordered, the cost of mediation will be shared by both parties. When one of the parties asks for mediation, the costs may be paid by that party or split between the parties. There may be volunteer mediators.

How should you prepare for mediation?

To prepare for mediation, your attorney should thoroughly build and organize your case. You should understand what your case is worth and the approximate range where you are willing to settle. If there are any key issues or information, compile any relevant records and bring them with you.

Is mediation a trial?

No, mediation is not a trial. The mediator doesn’t decide who is right or wrong. They don’t review the evidence. Being organized and having information with you may help your mediation. However, there will not be any rulings in mediation, other than what may be agreed to between the parties.

Is mediation confidential?

Under Florida Statutes § 44.405(1), all mediation communications are confidential. The reason is to allow the parties to openly discuss the case. However, as a practical matter, you should still be strategic about what you say and the information you present in mediation. Also, there are exceptions to the confidentiality law including criminal activity and violence.

How long does mediation last?

Personal injury cases are typically set for a one-day mediation session. If you’re able to reach an agreement quickly, mediation ends when you complete the agreement. If you don’t have a settlement after mediation, you may choose to continue later.

What happens if we reach a settlement through mediation?

If you reach a settlement through mediation, the parties will put it in writing. Then, they will submit it as a judgment to the court. Usually, for a personal injury case, a mediation settlement will fully resolve the issues in the case. The court enters the order, the parties execute the agreement, and the case ends.

What happens if we don’t reach a settlement through mediation?

If you don’t reach a settlement through mediation, your case proceeds towards trial. You may choose to negotiate further, but your case will move forward to final court proceedings and then trial.

How long after mediation will I get my money?

Your mediation agreement may state when you will receive your money. For example, a term you agree to may be that you are paid within 14 days of when the order is entered by the court. Our lawyers can explain what the options may be for your case and negotiate on your behalf.

What laws govern mediation in Florida?

Mediation in Florida is governed by Florida Statutes § 44.102 – Court-ordered mediation and Florida Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 1.720 – Mediation procedures. A local court may create specific rules for how mediation must occur in a case.

Get Help with Mediation from a Personal Injury Lawyer

At JustCallMoe, we represent our clients in all aspects of a personal injury claim. That includes preparing for mediation and handling the mediation effectively. We’ll represent you, giving you honest advice about whether you should settle your case or go to trial.

To learn more about mediation in your case and how our attorneys can help, call (866) 225-5663 or message us now.

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