Article: Florida Mediation: Required In Personal Injury Cases

Mediation, a process that encourages and supports communication between parties who are in dispute, is required in Florida personal injury cases and has become very important over the last 15 years. Courts like for people to resolve disputes between themselves without judicial determination. But, how did it come about and how does it work?

How did mediation begin in Florida?

To answer that question, we asked Eric Block, a Florida accident attorney whose practice concentrates on personal injury claims and trial work related to those claims. Here’s what he told us in a recent interview:

About 15 or 20 years ago, somebody thought it would be a good idea to put parties in a room with a disinterested party (mediator) to see if they could resolve the case themselves rather than having six strangers (jurors) tell the parties what’s going to happen.

What happened is that the mediation process became very successful. I believe that statistics show that 85 percent of the cases out there are settling in mediation. Courts greatly favor mediation – so much so that there is now a universal rule that anything that is said in mediation, stays in mediation, is completely confidential and can’t be used in any proceeding.

How does mediation work?

Block says that basically, what happens in a mediation is that the parties choose a court appointed mediator – someone with no interest in the case other than trying to get it settled. He continued, “The mediator will meet with the parties and there will be a joint session where each party states its ‘case’, so to speak. The parties then break up and the mediator goes back and forth from one party to the other trying to persuade each to ultimately reach a settlement.”

“Attorneys are allowed to represent their clients in the mediation process. Actually, I am certified by the Florida Supreme Court as a mediator – both in civil and family law disputes. Unfortunately, I had to give up mediation about six years ago when I became so busy with my trial practice and simply didn’t have the time for it anymore.”

Possible outcomes of mediation

Block says that three things can happen in a mediation. “One, the case gets settled and it’s over. Two, the case isn’t settled and it proceeds to trial. Three, more work needs to be done and the mediation will be continued to a later date until certain doctors are deposed or certain records are produced.”

If you’ve been injured due to the negligence of another, contact a Florida injury attorney to discuss your situation. The consultation is free, without obligation and strictly confidential.

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