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Suppose you have a dispute relating to a property insurance claim. In that case, you may have heard of the Florida Department of Financial Services (DFS) mediation program to resolve your disagreement with the insurance company. So what is mediation, and can it be fruitful to settle your claim?

What is DFS Mediation?

Typically, mediation occurs in the middle of the lawsuit process. It offers a way of resolving your case before going to trial. DFS mediation, on the other hand, occurs before filing suit with the aim of avoiding litigation altogether. 

The goals of mediation are facilitating communication, negotiation, and, ultimately, a resolution between the parties involved. 

A DFS mediation is between the homeowner and the insurance company, with a neutral mediator presiding over the session.

After reporting your claim, your insurance company must notify you of the DFS mediation program and provide specific information about how to participate. If you suffered some residential or commercial property damage and have filed a property damage claim, you have the right to participate in the program. If you receive notice that your claim is denied or underpaid, you will want to contact the DFS to schedule a mediation. 

DFS Mediation Benefits

There are many benefits and advantages to DFS mediation. Because DFS mediation occurs pre-suit, if it is successful, it can eliminate future litigation costs, including filing fees, attorney fees, expert witness expenses, and more. Lawsuits can be costly and time-consuming.

Mediation offers a way to avoid expenses and ensure you receive your money sooner rather than later. In other words, if you settle your dispute through mediation, you will be paid soon after. However, if your case proceeds to litigation, it could be months or even years before it reaches a final resolution. 

If you proceed to litigation and trial, there is also the possibility that you may not win and be unable to recover any damages. Mediation also allows the parties to objectively review their dispute with the assistance of a neutral third party, i.e., the mediator.

Participating in pre-suit mediation is not legally binding and reserves your right to pursue litigation if your claim does not settle. With pre-suit mediation, the parties retain their right to litigate their dispute if they do not settle. 

Normally, mediation costs are assumed by one or both parties. However, in DFS mediation, the insurance company pays the cost of mediation.

Average Settlement Offers During Mediation

Every situation is different, and the factors unique to your case will directly influence the potential settlement offer you can anticipate during mediation. Factors that will affect settlement offers include:

  • The type and extent of property damage,
  • The property owner’s demands,
  • The strengths and weaknesses of each side’s case, and
  • The applicable insurance policy limits.

Remember, mediation offers a compromise between the parties, which means neither party will likely get exactly what they want. Instead, both sides must compromise to reach a settlement they can accept to avoid litigation.

Miami-Dade County Property Claims Settlement Attorneys

At Arias & Abbass, we are a boutique law firm offering an intimate and compassionate approach to your insurance property dispute needs. We are trial attorneys with a unique experience, including representing insurance companies. Contact us to schedule a consultation at your convenience. 

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