Alternative Dispute Resolution: Mediation vs. Arbitration

If you’ve been injured in a car accident or you’re involved in a personal injury claim, you might be wondering whether mediation or arbitration will apply to your case. Mediation and Arbitration are also known as alternative dispute resolution.

If you file a lawsuit, the California Constitution guarantees your right to a trial by jury.  Most personal injury cases settle out of court, and there are pros and cons to using alternative dispute resolution services.

Mediation

Mediation is a voluntary process where a neutral third party tries to help you resolve your case. The mediator listens to both sides of the story and tries to find middle ground. It is most effective for disputes between neighbors, consumer claims against businesses and landlord-tenant claims, where problems can be solved by promising to do things differently in the future.

In most injury cases, your attorney can negotiate the best settlement for you. However, when an adjuster disagrees about how severely you were injured, a mediator, working with your attorney, may be able to help the adjuster understand that the value of your case will only go up if you go to trial.

Arbitration

Arbitration is a process where an arbitrator acts as judge and jury and makes a decision that may be binding on the participants. Many cases go to arbitration because a contract requires it. For example, if your insurance company denies you coverage for a claim, your policy might specify that you use arbitration to determine if you’re covered.

Many personal injury cases settle out of court, and some may  involve litigation. An attorney from TorkLaw can advise you about which process is the right one for you.

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