The American Bar Association defines mediation as “a private process where a neutral third person called a mediator helps the parties discuss and try to resolve the dispute.” It is essentially equivalent to a settlement conference.
In other words, it is a way for people who are having a dispute to talk about their issues and concerns and to make decisions with the help of another person called a mediator. A mediator is not allowed to decide who is right or wrong or tell you how to resolve your dispute. Instead, the mediator will help you find solutions that make sense to you and the other person in the conflict to resolve some or all of your concerns.
An experienced Florida personal injury lawyer at Searcy Denney is ideal if you have been injured and are potentially facing mediation.
Who is Involved in a Florida Mediation?
The parties involved in mediation are typically the plaintiff, the plaintiff’s attorney, the defense attorney, an insurance adjuster from the defendant’s insurance company, and the mediator. The mediator is chosen by both parties to lead a discussion designed to come to a mutually-beneficial resolution. Generally, the mediation process is as follows:
- The plaintiff and the plaintiff’s lawyer will be in one room and will have the final authority to decide on whether a case is settled at mediation.
- The mediator usually speaks with defense counsel and an insurance adjuster from the defendant’s insurance company in another room.
- Finally, there may be various parties available by phone in the event the dispute is resolved. For example, if an insurance company has already paid the bills for the plaintiff’s injuries, they may have a right to restitution by the defendant from the settlement’s proceeds. Usually, representatives of the insurance company are put on notice of the mediation and will only become involved if a case settles.
Do I Need to Speak at the Mediation?
Of course, no one can force you to speak if you don’t wish to. However, it’s important to remember that you typically won’t be asked to speak in front of the opposing party, which can understandably be awkward. Instead, you will be speaking with your attorney in an otherwise deserted room.
Therefore, there is no reason to be concerned with saying what you need to say. Without your input, your attorney won’t be able to get a sense of precisely what you’re willing to settle for. After all, the decision of whether to settle or not depends solely on you and the opposing party.
Contact a Florida Personal Injury Lawyer for Help With Your Mediation
Mediation may not always result in reaching a settlement agreement, but quite often, it is effective at laying the groundwork and setting the foundation for an actual settlement. If you have suffered a personal injury, contact a Florida personal injury lawyer at Searcy Denney. We offer a free consultation and work on a contingency fee basis, which means you don’t pay unless you recover. If you need our help, contact us online today.