What is Mediation? Florida Mediation Requirement

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Mediation is a tool used in Florida to assist parties in settling a claim for damages resulting from slip and falls, auto accidents or medical malpractice issues. A claim for damages has different stages: filing a claim, sending a demand for damages, filing a lawsuit, mediation, post mediation, and trial. If a claim for injuries and resulting damages is not settled in the first stages, then the injured party may file a lawsuit. Once a lawsuit is filed, the court requires that the parties attend mediation.
Mediation is often the best opportunity to settle your case before a jury is selected and more costs are spent on preparing for trial. Mediation is required because it has been a proven tool for cases to settle out of court, in fact, approximately 90% of injury cases are settled at mediation.
So, what is mediation? Mediation is the term to describe a meeting between the parties and a neutral, unbiased individual (a mediator). You and your attorney meet with the other side’s lawyer and insurance adjuster along with the mediator. The mediator’s job is to listen to both sides and help you reach a settlement agreement. All communication and offers are kept confidential and cannot be used in court if the case does not settle. The parties originally meet in one room to hear opening statements and are then separated into different rooms and the mediator goes between both rooms to help negotiate a settlement.
If you are able to reach an agreement, then the mediator drafts a mediated agreement and both sides sign the agreement. While mediation is a good tool for settlement, it is also helpful in showing the strengths and weaknesses of a case so your attorney can best prepare your case to be presented to a jury. In addition, it opens communication for the parties to reach a settlement before, or sometimes during trial.
If a case is not settled at mediation, there are still opportunities for settlement after mediation. Ultimately, if there is not settlement or meeting of the minds, the case will proceed to trial. The case will then depend on the verdict of the jury.

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