When you suffer injuries and other losses in a Miami car accident, you will most likely file a car crash claim with your own insurer. This is because Florida is a no-fault insurance state. However, the insurance company is not always willing to accept crash claims and mediation may be a consideration. The company may raise various objections, reject your right to damages, or make a counter-offer with an amount of money that is too little to be fair.
This is when a formal dispute begins between you, as the claimant, and the insurance company. There are many ways of going about resolving this dispute. In many cases, the dispute takes the form of a personal injury lawsuit that is then filed against the insurance company to seek a fair settlement. However, you have other options which you can explore before the dispute reaches this stage. One of these options is mediation.
What is Mediation?
Mediation is an informal process that aims at resolving your dispute with the insurance company without the need of going to court. The only requirement for mediation is that both parties must request it as it is a voluntary process. Both parties must be present at the mediation. As a defendant, you can also have your lawyer by your side when attending the informal conference. Likewise, the insurance company may have one or more representatives present at the mediation.
At this point, it is important to ask if the persons representing the insurance company have the authority to reach and formalize an agreement with you, in case mediation succeeds. This is to ensure that the whole process is not in vain.
A neutral third party, known as the mediator, is also present and presides over mediation. This mediator is someone who is agreed upon by both sides. A good mediator will charge a fee for the service. This amount will be split between you and the insurance company. The ultimate task of the mediator is to facilitate the proceedings and help both parties come to an agreement.
A mediator is typically a lawyer, a retired judge, or someone with real legal experience. This is why hiring mediation services can be quite costly, around $150 and more per hour. An average mediation session can last two to three hours, or even more.
Legal Status of Mediation
Mediation is recognized as a useful tool in personal injury cases. This is because it saves both parties from the lengthy legal proceedings which are bound to entail a personal injury lawsuit. In fact, if the point of contention is the settlement amount, mediation can be very effective in bridging the difference between the amount sought and the offered amount.
However, any agreement reached through mediation is binding only if both parties agree to it. Similarly, whatever both parties say during mediation can’t be used in a court of law. This liberty is meant to give both parties complete freedom to present their viewpoint and thus try and reach an agreement.
Proceedings of Mediation
During a mediation conference, the mediator asks both sides to present their narrative. You first present your version of how the crash occurred, what your losses are, and why you are entitled to the amount you are seeking. The insurer’s representative then presents counter-arguments to show why the insurer thinks a lower settlement is fair.
The mediator then strives to bring both sides closer and eliminate their mutual differences. To this purpose, the mediator may coax both sides to discuss and debate the issue. If that doesn’t seem viable, the mediator may separate both parties into different rooms and then act as a go-between while trying to bring them to some sort of agreement.
If you and the insurance company reached an agreement, the mediator formalizes it. If an agreement is not reached, the legal status of your crash claim remains the same. You can then decide whether or not to file a lawsuit against the insurer.
Hiring a Reliable Miami Car Accident Lawyer
When negotiating a car crash claim with an insurance company, it is critically important to consult a reliable and experienced lawyer. Here at Englander Peebles, we believe in the right of car crash victims to receive a fair settlement.
This is why we strive to help you get the maximum compensation for your losses sustained in the crash. Our lawyers also help you through mediation and counter any unfair objections raised by the insurance company’s representatives. If need be, we also take your claim to the court and force the insurer to pay compensation. Message us today for a free consultation.