Mediation has become a standard add-on to contracts that people sign for things like nursing homes and employment, especially in fields like construction where personal injury is more common. In Florida, mediation is generally not required but plaintiffs are often “compelled” to mediate a case before going to trial. Most cases are settled during mediation (roughly 80%) and only about 1% of cases ever make it to trial.
There are 2 main types of mediation: pre-suit and court-ordered.
Pre-suit mediation happens before you go to court or before a judge. Nobody is ordering you to do it, but both parties agree to it; it’s entirely voluntary. Typically, a neutral professional (called a mediator) tries to help settle things by listening to both sides and giving advice or perspective to each. There are no real rules or guidelines because it’s not a formal legal process.
Court-ordered mediation differs in that it’s a little more formal because a suit has been filed, but mediation is required by law before going to trial. That means the mediation is not voluntary. Both sides can present their case (evidence, photos, arguments, etc.), then a mediator will work to come to a settlement that both parties agree on.
The main benefits of mediation are cost and time savings. The average trial can take 33.6 months (nearly 3 years) from start to finish to resolve. The average mediation, on the other hand, can be settled in much less time. And as we’ve already said, the cost of a trial can be thousands of dollars, but the cost of mediation is on average about 60% less expensive.
A mediator talks to each party about the pros and cons of all the possible outcomes of their individual situations. A mediator is generally chosen by both parties. Both parties have to agree to a certain person that’s entirely neutral. The mediator has no authority, but gives advice and perspective to both sides. They can’t force either side to do anything or accept any offer.
Every case and situation are different. Before you take any steps towards legal action or settlement, you should talk with an experienced personal injury lawyer. Contact us today. Here at The Furey Law Firm, we are ready to help.