Trial vs. Mediation In A Florida Personal Injury Lawsuit
While you hope that you’re able to settle your lawsuit through informal negotiations, this doesn’t always happen. And in that case, you must turn your attention to other options. With more than one way to approach a Florida personal injury lawsuit, it’s imperative to have a full understanding of the pros and cons associated with each, namely mediation vs. going to trial.
Our knowledgeable Orlando personal injury attorneys at Pardy & Rodriguez, P.A. explain what happens during mediation and what you can expect if your case goes to trial.
What is mediation in a Florida personal injury lawsuit?
Mediation is a process in which a neutral person—known as a mediator—helps the parties work through their dispute with the goal of reaching a settlement.
There are many benefits of mediation, including but not limited to:
- It takes place outside of a traditional courtroom, which can help reduce anxiety and stress on all parties involved.
- A third-party mediator manages the process but doesn’t have the legal authority to make decisions.
- It encourages direct communication between you and the other party.
- You have more control over the process, as there’s no judge and jury.
The primary purpose of mediation is to reach an agreement without the time and money that’s typically associated with taking your case to trial.
The basic steps of mediation include:
- Meeting with the mediator to discuss the details of the case and to give both parties the chance to express their position.
- Subsequent meetings to discuss the case and potential outcomes, centered largely around negotiations.
- If an agreement is made, the mediator can help draft the necessary documents.
From there, once you or your legal team receives payment, the mediation process comes to an end.
In regards to a timeline for the mediation process, this depends on factors such as:
- The willingness of both parties to negotiate and compromise.
- The complexity of the accident, damages, and financial loss.
- The types of damages under negotiation, such as compensatory and punitive.
In some cases, it only takes one session to find common ground and reach a settlement agreement. Conversely, it’s not out-of-the-question for mediation to last for several sessions over the course of many weeks or months.
When you consult with an experienced Orlando injury attorney, there’s no gray area as to what you should and shouldn’t be doing. They know when to keep pushing through mediation and when to move on. If the mediation process bogs down, it may be time to go to trial.
What happens in a Florida personal injury trial?
If you’re unable to reach a settlement in mediation, your case may move to the court system and an eventual trial.
Even if a personal injury trial is on the horizon, keep in mind that your Orlando injury lawyer will continue to communicate and negotiate with the other side. You can settle at any time up until the start of your trial.
In many cases, to avoid the time and cost associated with a personal injury trial, the at-fault party’s insurance company will settle at the last moment.
There are six general steps of a Florida personal injury trial:
1. Choosing a jury
Your Orlando injury lawyer will partake in this process with the idea of choosing a jury that gives you the best chance of winning your case.
2. Opening statements
Both the attorney for the plaintiff and defendant have the opportunity to make an opening statement. Your Orlando injury attorney will present the facts of the accident, with a focus on how the negligence of the other party resulted in your injuries and related damages.
3. Witness testimony and cross-examination
This is an opportunity for your legal team to present evidence that convinces the jury that the other party is legally responsible for your injuries and damages. In the event that the defendant brings forth a witness, your attorney can cross-examine them.
4. Closing arguments
This is when your attorney provides a final overview of the case. It’s one final chance for them to persuade the jury.
5. Jury instruction
The judge provides the jury with a set of legal standards to be used to help them decide if the defendant is liable for your injuries and damages.
6. Jury deliberation and verdict
The jury deliberates out of sight, with this process having the potential to drag on for several weeks or longer. At the conclusion of deliberation, the judge will read the final verdict. Should the jury fail to reach a unanimous decision, you have the opportunity to refile and start back at the beginning.
Our Orlando personal injury lawyers will cover all your bases in mediation or at trial
Our Orlando personal injury lawyers at Pardy & Rodriguez, P.A. have more than 35 years’ combined experience representing accident victims across Florida in personal injury cases. A Firm Dedicated To You, our team is committed to providing injured individuals the legal services they need to collect compensation for their damages, whether the process involves negotiating a settlement through mediation or taking your case to trial. Contact us online or give us a call today to schedule your free consultation.