The majority of personal injury cases are resolved through settlement negotiation. The parties to a civil lawsuit will often participate in different forms of alternative dispute resolution. As part of this process, the parties may participate in the following proceedings: settlement negotiation, mediation, and arbitration.
Settlement Negotiation and Its Role in Personal Injury Cases
Defense counsel will do everything in their power to avoid going to trial because litigation is expensive and time consuming. A jury trial will take up time and resources that can be used on other cases. Therefore, parties to a civil lawsuit are encouraged to reach a settlement agreement to help the clients resolve their conflict. Settling a case also means that judicial resources are preserved for other cases.
Most personal injury cases concern insurance policies with set policy limits. Insurance companies will assess the costs and benefits of going to trial for a personal injury case. It is extremely likely that your personal injury case will settle before trial. The parties will engage in settlement negotiations at any time in the case, and some cases may even settle the evening before trial is set to begin or during a trial.
Mediation and Neutral Third-Parties
A mediator is a neutral third-party who attempts to help the parties resolve their differences. Mediations may last several hours, and a mediator will go back and forth to spend time speaking to the parties about the position taken by the other side. Mediators are trained, and they are typically former attorneys and judges.
Mediators do not have the power to decide a personal injury case. Only the parties and their attorneys can agree to a settlement agreement during a mediation. Both sides will draft a mediation brief before the mediation begins, and the mediator will spend time reading the mediation briefs and assessing the facts of the case.
Binding Arbitration and Non-Binding Arbitration
Arbitration is the most formal type of alternative dispute resolution. The parties will participate in either binding arbitration or non-binding arbitration. During binding arbitration the arbitrator has the power to make a final decision regarding the claims and defenses asserted by the parties. However, the arbitrator in non-binding arbitration proceedings does not hold this power. Arbitration proceedings are often longer than mediation proceedings.
Arbitration is sometimes ordered by a judge. Oftentimes, a contract will contain an arbitration clause that binds the parties. If you want to learn more about arbitration, then you should speak to an experienced attorney who is knowledgeable about alternative dispute resolution.
Contact the Law Office of Justin L. Mason Today to Schedule a Free Consultation
You do not have to take on every aspect of a personal injury case by yourself. A skilled personal injury lawyer can provide you with exceptional legal representation. If you need to speak to an attorney today, then contact the Law Office of Justin L. Mason. Our attorneys are here to help you understand your legal rights and the options you have for enforcing those rights.