Personal injury cases rarely go to court for final resolution. Often, an insurance settlement is reached when the evidence indicates negligence. Other personal injury cases are settled via mediation or arbitration. The difference between the two is that the parties involved in the case decide the outcome through mediation. When a case is resolved with arbitration, the arbitrator makes the final decision.
Each potential resolution has the benefit of bringing both parties to the settlement table to review the details of the case. The plaintiff (the injured party) and defendant (the at-fault party) have the opportunity to provide input from their point of view. If someone else’s negligence injured you, a personal injury lawyer could represent you in seeking compensation via mediation or arbitration.
Understanding the Benefits of Mediation
When your personal injury case goes to mediation, it brings you and the other involved party together. Mediation is voluntary for both parties, and both must request it. When they do, it is governed by a third-party mediator.
Ideally, an objective party, the mediator, will listen to both sides of the personal injury dispute. Rather than decide the case, the mediator will encourage both sides to come to a mutually satisfactory resolution of their case.
The mediator will not even offer an opinion. Mediation is a safe and discreet place for both parties to meet since nothing either side says can be used against them later. Both sides equally share the costs of mediation.
A personal injury attorney works hard to understand and document the merits of your case. Most will start with a free review of your claim. Once you agree on representation, they will fight for the best possible outcome of your case. If you go to mediation, your lawyer will represent you.
The Process of Mediation
Mediation is informal. If a mutually agreeable solution cannot be reached, both parties return to the negotiating table or court. In general, the process involves:
- Each side speaking to the mediator alone
- Each side talks to the mediator with all parties present
- Each side addressing the other in a mediator-facilitated conversation
The mediator will maintain each side’s confidence by not revealing information in private. They will urge each side to resolve their personal injury dispute mutually.
For a free legal consultation, call (404) 888-8888
Understanding the Benefits of Arbitration
Arbitration is usually less costly and time-consuming than a protracted court case. Similar to mediation, the primary difference between the two is that the arbitrator in your personal injury case will make a decision.
The arbitrator’s decision is final and binding. They will decide:
- Whether you are entitled to recover compensation from the at-fault party at all
- What types and amounts of compensation you are entitled to receive
Like mediation, both sides must agree to arbitration and mutually agree on who serves in the role of arbitrator. Choices can include an attorney, former judge, or member of an arbitrator’s group. In addition, the other party’s insurer may recommend someone who must be agreed upon by mutual consent.
During arbitration, you can present much of the same evidence you would during settlement negotiations or trial without needing experts or witnesses for verification. However, if the other side insists, you may need to agree on capping any resulting financial award.
The Process of Arbitration
Arbitration is a more formal process — another way it differs from mediation — because it is more similar to a trial. In turn, each side will:
- Make an opening statement that lays out your case
- Tell their version of the events that led to the accident or injury
- Provide evidence and testify under oath
- Call eyewitnesses to the accident to testify on your behalf
- Call family members to testify to the accident’s toll on your life
- Cross-examine any witnesses who testified for the other side
- Make a closing argument that sums up your case
The arbitrator’s decision can take time while he reviews evidence and testimony. However, it typically comes within several days of the completion of the process.
Personal Injury Cases That Can Be Resolved Through Mediation or Arbitration
Personal injury cases rarely go to trial. You, your attorney, the at-fault party, or their insurance provider may opt for mediation or arbitration in the following types of cases:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Motorcycle and bicycle accidents
- Construction accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Wrongful death
- Workers’ compensation
Choosing between mediation and arbitration can be difficult on your own. However, a personal injury lawyer can help you choose the best option.
Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm to Discuss Your Claim Today
If you or someone you love suffered an accidental injury because of someone else’s negligence, the personal injury attorneys from Bader Scott Injury Lawyers will help you fight for compensation. We will explain the difference between mediation and arbitration. We will also help you choose the option that best resolves your case with a favorable financial result.
Contact our law firm today to learn more about how we will fight for a successful outcome for you.