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Mediating your business disputes

Businesses are at risk of lawsuits. It seems to be the nature of things. If you own a business, you have certainly taken precautions against such legal actions in the way you manufacture and market your product, train your employees, and draft your contracts. Nevertheless, there is always the chance that you will face a lawsuit either as plaintiff or defendant.

The idea of dealing with a lawsuit may be overwhelming because you know it will take precious resources from your Florida business. Fortunately, there are less stressful ways to resolve legal disputes than going through a contentious litigation.

Bringing your dispute to the table

If avoiding a prolonged court battle is one of your goals, you may consider mediation to settle your issue. Instead of going to court and facing a judge, you and your opponent meet privately with a trained mediator who guides you through the process of finding a solution. Both parties must be willing to negotiate and work in good faith toward resolving the matter. In general, mediation follows these steps:

  • After choosing a mediator, which your attorney can help you do, you and your opponent gather with your attorneys at a neutral place with the mediator.
  • The mediator explains the process and outlines the rules you will follow.
  • Both sides will have an opportunity to make a statement explaining your sides of the issue.
  • While the mediator may ask questions to clarify, you and your opponent may not interrupt each other.

The mediator may then take a variety of steps depending on the circumstances. For example, you and the other party may take time to discuss the matter without the mediator. The mediator may meet with each of you separately to determine any areas of potential compromise. Throughout the process, the mediator acts as a neutral go-between, urging each party to focus on the factors in common.

Reaching an agreement

If you and your opponent finally arrive at an agreeable settlement, you will sign the agreement, and the mediator will present it to the judge. However, if you cannot reach a settlement, the case may end up going to court. That means starting over from the beginning with a new attorney, so it is wise to work diligently for a solution through mediation to save your business time and money.

Having an attorney with you throughout the process can improve the chances of a successful mediation without the risk of signing away your rights. An attorney can assist you in building an effective argument and clarifying any matters of law.

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