Contrary to the general perception, most Florida car accident lawsuits are resolved before trial. There are many avenues of relief for Florida injury victims, but claimants should contact an experienced and skilled attorney to ensure that they recover the compensation they deserve. Depending on the accident’s facts and circumstances, many settlement agreements occur through alternative dispute resolution (ADR). The two most common forms of ADR are mediation and arbitration. These terms are often used interchangeably, but they have drastically different implications that can impact an injury victim’s right to recovery.
Meditation is a form of ADR that allows parties to settle claims without going to trial. During this process, a trained “mediator” guides the victim and the other party to reach a settlement. The meditator cannot require either party to do or agree to anything; however, they facilitate discussions and make recommendations. This form of ADR only occurs if both parties agree to it. Many insurance companies refuse to go through this process. However, in some cases, a court may require the parties to go to mediation before trial.
During mediation, the individual making a claim will explain their view of the case and the extent of their damages. The mediator will then allow the opposing party to present their view of the case and settlement amount. In most cases, the parties will know within a few hours whether they will reach an agreement; however, agreements can take several sessions in some cases. If the parties agree, the settlement document will be given to a judge for review.