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To litigate, arbitrate or mediate: What is the answer?

It's probably widely known that property owners in Florida have the responsibility to make sure that their premises are safe for visitors. Whether those visitors are invited implicitly or explicitly, a landlord might be liable for providing fair compensation if conditions were allowed to exist that caused someone to trip and fall and suffer injury.

That's a fairly straightforward scenario, but there are many nuances in the law that need to be considered before launching into the process of recovering due compensation. One of the most important is making a decision about whether to seek resolution through mediation, arbitration or litigation. There are pros and cons associated with each.

Litigation may be the form that is perhaps most attractive because the court-decided outcome is final and certain. But, as many experts observe, it can also be more expensive and time consuming than alternative forms of dispute resolution.

Mediation, for example, typically doesn't end with a decision from the mediator. Rather, that person's task is to help facilitate a process through which the parties involved come to mutually agreed to terms.

Attorneys with experience in this area of law know that court-ordered, nonbinding arbitration is always a possibility. Under this model, an arbitrator or arbitrating panel issues a decision based on evidence presented and arguments made. But if one or the other of the parties involved is unhappy with the outcome, they can request a formal trial.

There is a caveat for those who decide to bring such a challenge. Under Florida statute, if the trial doesn't deliver a better outcome to the party that called for it, that party bears the burden of paying the other party's attorney's fees and court costs.

So the answer to the question posed above is that it depends on the specifics of your particular case. And that is why consulting an experienced attorney is always recommended.

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