While most people think of jury trials when they think about a lawsuit, mediation and arbitration are far more common methods for resolution in the legal world. These forms of alternative dispute resolutions allow the parties of a lawsuit to attempt to resolve the issue and reach a fair settlement outside of the courtroom, which is typically a more favorable option.
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Mediation is the process in which a neutral third party (known as the mediator) moderates the resolution of a legal dispute through encouragement and methods of facilitation. This unbiased mediator steps in to work with both parties to reach a favorable outcome.
This form of resolution often works like “legal therapy.” Both parties express their concerns to the mediator, who in turn typically asks how and why each party feels the way they do and offers neutral solutions to the matter.
Mediation has the following characteristics:
- Informal: There are no court rules or rules of evidence that apply
- Non-adversarial: The mediator doesn’t pick a winner, and there’s no cross-examination
- Agreements must be mutually acceptable: Neither the court nor the mediator can force the parties to agree to a settlement
- Flexible: With some limitations, the parties can get creative about their settlement agreement
- Binding: When you reach an agreement and sign it, it’s enforceable in court
It is common for lawsuits to settle during mediation, often making it the final stage for many car accident cases.
Arbitration uses a person or team of people who are not judges or a jury to decide how the case should be settled. The attorney for each party will present their case to the arbitrator and even cross-examine the parties, allowing them to provide testimonies for the arbitrators to consider.
The arbitrators listen to these arguments and decide what the outcome of the case should be. Arbitrations can be looked at as a more casual version of a standard trial. It’s common for arbitration to be considered an easier and more affordable way to resolve a case as opposed to letting the case go to trial.
Some benefits of arbitration include:
- It’s more affordable
- The case resolves faster than it would in court
- It’s easier to present your case due to relaxed rules of evidence
- Less stressful than traditional court appearances
These disadvantages may include:
- A professional decides your case, not a jury
- Discovery is limited
- Options to appeal may be limited
- You do not get to try the case in court
- The arbitrator cannot hear witness testimony
If you’re unsure whether you should consider arbitration for your auto accident, you should discuss your questions and concerns with an experienced car accident attorney.
What is the legal difference between arbitration and mediation?
Although both arbitration and mediation are considered types of alternative dispute resolution methods, they do have some important differences to understand. The main legal difference between the two is that in mediation, the mediator facilitates the discussion to allow the parties to reach a favorable decision for everyone involved, whereas, in arbitration, the arbitrator maintains control of the outcome of the settlement.
Do most personal injury cases settle at mediation?
Whether a personal injury case will settle at mediation depends on a few factors, including the extent of the injuries at hand. While mediation may be a preferred alternative to settling the case in court, it isn’t always the preferred method of resolution for personal injury cases. If you are wondering whether your personal injury case will be better off settling at mediation, you should discuss the various possibilities and potential outcomes with your personal injury attorney.
How does mediation work in a personal injury case?
Mediation in a personal injury case works similarly to mediation in other cases. The mediator hears what both parties have to say and facilitates the discussion to work toward a favorable outcome for both parties. In personal injury cases, you may be able to hold a mediation with your insurance adjuster if you have been unable to come to any settlement agreements with them over the course of the lawsuit.
Is arbitration a good way to settle a personal injury?
Like any lawsuit, arbitration can be a good way to settle a personal injury case but it can also sometimes be unfavorable to the parties. If you’re concerned about whether personal injury arbitration is the best option for your case, discuss your concerns with your personal injury lawyer to learn about how to reach the most favorable outcome for you and other resources you may rely on.
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Adam S. Kutner
PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER
With more than 32 years of experience fighting for victims of personal injury in the Las Vegas Valley, attorney Adam S. Kutner knows his way around the Nevada court system and how to get clients their settlement promptly and trouble-free.