How Do Florida Personal Injury Settlements Work?
Contrary to how legal dramas present cases, most personal injury cases do not go to trial, and you are not likely to get millions of dollars in settlement. There are many possible directions a Florida personal injury case may take. If you are about to file a personal injury case in Florida, it would help to know what to expect. This will help you be more mentally prepared and minimize frustration.
So how do personal injury settlements work? What actually happens in your case depends on who you are filing a case against, what your personal injury lawyers decide, and, ultimately, what you decide.
Mediation is used to settle civil cases or cases filed by an individual against another for damages. In Florida, courts require parties to attend a mediation session before trial. During that, both parties discuss their case and negotiate, with the end goal being an agreement. Do not worry because your lawyer will do most of the talking during mediation, so make sure to hire a good Florida personal injury lawyer.
Mediations are overseen by an impartial mediator. These sessions are informal and confidential, so none of the things said during mediation may be used as evidence should you go to trial. Most mediations take up to two sessions, after which the lawyers will draw up an agreement to be signed by both parties. This document will then be submitted to the judge for approval. If your case requires a settlement, then the due date will be indicated in the agreement.
Arbitration and mediation are often confused because they are both required by courts before going to trial. However, arbitration is different from mediation in that it is used for commercial disputes, such as cases involving defective products. Similar to mediations, your lawyer will attend the arbitration and speak on your behalf.
Most of the time, arbitrations are included in the contract when you request a service. The arbitration clause requires you to attend mediation before you file a lawsuit against the company. If you disregard this requirement, the company will file a motion to put it on hold.
There are two types of arbitration: binding and non-binding. In a binding arbitration, you have no choice but to accept the arbiter’s decision. In contrast, a non-binding arbitration allows you to appeal the arbiter’s decision if you are not satisfied with it.
Going To Trial Versus Settling
When a case goes to trial, both parties will present their cases in front of a judge or a jury, who will then decide your case. There is no guarantee how a judge or jury will decide your case. There are numerous factors to consider. Thus, when you go on trial, you take the risk of losing your settlement. Nevertheless, until you go on trial, no one can force you to settle.
The risk of losing, in addition to the length of time and expenses associated with going on trial, is often the reason people settle during mediation or arbitration. Settlement is not a bad idea. It guarantees settlement money for the plaintiff. However, it is not advisable to accept a settlement offer until it has been reviewed by your personal injury lawyer. Doing so early is a common tactic employed especially by corporations to avoid compensating victims with what they truly deserve.
Your Florida personal injury lawyer will help you determine the right compensation for the damages caused by the other party. A good settlement offer should cover the cost of the following:
• Medical bills and future medical bills
• Lost wages and future estimated lost wages
• Other financial impacts on your earning potential
• Pain and suffering
• Emotional distress
• Property damage
• Punitive damages
Personal injury cases often involve accidents that leave victims temporarily or permanently injured. It is costly to recover from injuries even with insurance, and in the case of permanent injuries, it can be debilitating.
A Strong Personal Injury Lawyer Matters
Most lawyers will attempt to reach a settlement instead of going to trial. That means getting the other party to agree to give you the compensation you deserve during the mediation or arbitration period. However, if the other party is not willing to negotiate and you fail to agree on a settlement, then the case may go to trial. Whether your personal injury case goes to trial, you can guarantee that Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez, and Walsh will get you the best possible resolution.