Mediation Vs. Arbitration Vs. Mandatory Settlement in Personal Injury

The best outcome in personal injury is to reach a settlement without the lawsuits being filed, or before you have to enter litigation. 

But if there is a dispute that shows up which can’t be resolved via negotiations between the lawyer, the legal team, and the offending party, then you might need to take it to get the compensation that you want. 

Even if the case doesn’t reach litigation though, it will not always be resolved. Sometimes, you need to have alternatives to resolution, and we’ll go over a few of these here. 

Mediation 

This is a non-binding type of dispute resolution, where the mediator attempts to resolve the dispute through a neutral third party that will try to resolve the issue with the parties. This is appropriate when the case is close to a settlement but both parties are refusing to work together. 

Unless provided by California law or evidence code, the discussions of settlements, the communications, and negotiations aren’t a part of the discovery and are considered confidential. 

Arbitration 

This is when arbiters come in, look at both sides of the arguments along with the evidence, and decides the outcome. It’s either binding or not binding. 

In a not binding one, the party can go to trial if they don’t’ agree with the decision of arbiters. In binding forms, both of them waive the right to trial and will consent to accept the decision of the arbiter. If it’s not likely that both sides will come to a mutual agreement with mediation, but both sides want to avoid time and money used for a trail, then a binding arbitration might be used.  If they both want some control, then a non-binding one will be an option. 

Mandatory Settlement Conference 

This is where the parties involved along with the lawyers will meet with a neutral person or a judge in order to discuss the options for settlement. 

Rather than making a firm decision on this, the judge or officer helps assess both the weaknesses and the strengths in order to properly negotiate the settlement. 

This can be voluntary or mandatory, depending on what you’re going for. 

Typically, this is held closer to the date that the case is scheduled to go to trial. 

How are alternatives determined 

There are a few ways that this is determined when lawsuits are in place. whether cases will go to litigation or this type of resolution depends on a few things. 

The first is evidence strength. If you have good evidence, then they won’t risk litigation. This can be properly assessed through personal injury lawyers as they prepare for this, and if you have ample evidence, then they will use settlement negotiations to go to trial. 

The second is arbitration agreements. If you’ve signed one that covers the action courses, then it might be necessary to do arbitration rather than a trial. In that case, the lawyer will look at the language to determine whether or not it’s enforceable or if there is action covered. 

Whether the other party will cooperate. Sometimes, they will refuse to even with strong evidence, which in that case, litigation might be the only option, but sometimes if they do cooperate, there is dispute resolution in place too. 

The amount determines too. If you’re not looking for a lot of damages, then the other party won’t put the money towards litigation. But if the compensation is substantial, then you may not want to do that. 

With this type of action, it’s best to consult an attorney to help determine the solution. 

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