Most mediations start with a joint session that includes all parties and their attorneys. You will tell the mediator and each other about the case and what you think are points in your favor. The parties and their respective attorneys are then usually divided into separate rooms for private conversations. This private meeting is called a caucus. The mediator goes back and forth between the parties to try to help them resolve the case. If a settlement is reached, its terms will be written down and signed by the parties making it enforceable as if it were a contract.
Will the mediator make decisions for you?
Except for attorneys and the adjusters, most people who attend mediations are newcomers to the process or have little prior experience with mediations. This page is designed to help people who are not familiar with the process to learn a bit about it. You may have other questions. If so, you can ask your attorney about them, or feel free to talk with your mediator about them at the mediation. The goal of mediation is for the parties to resolve their dispute themselves rather than allowing a judge and jury to do so. Mediation gives the parties the ability to mutually control their own destinies rather than allow others to do so for them.
Notes for Mediation Newcomers
mediations in palm beach, broward, martin,
and other southeastern florida counties
What happens in a mediation?
Should you be nervous?
Will the mediator give you legal advice?
No. The mediator does not have the authority to render a decision and the parties cannot be forced to reach an agreement. That's entirely up to you. The role of a mediator is to try to help the parties understand the strengths and weaknesses of their case and to assist them in reaching an agreement.
No. Though most mediators have legal backgrounds, they are not your attorney and cannot give you legal advice. They can offer perspective, can help provide context and perhaps even let you know what similar cases have settled for, but cannot advise you what you should do in your particular case. Those matters are solely between you and your attorney (if you have one). The contents of this web site, in fact, are only for informational purposes and are not legal advice.
Not really. All new things can seem a bit scary, but one of the good things about mediation is that nothing bad can happen to you there. When you leave, you will either have an agreement (and you wouldn't agree to something you felt was bad for you, would you?) or you will be exactly the way you were when you walked in: heading to court. So, while there is an upside, there are no downsides.
If a lawsuit has already been filed, your mediation is likely to be confidential by court order. That means you and your attorney can speak freely without worrying about the other side being able to use your words against you in court. The judge will not listen to testimony about that and the judge will not let the jury listen to it. The same is true for the other side, of course. What they say is also confidential. If no lawsuit has (yet) been filed, mediations are not automatically confidential, but can be by agreement (and usually are).