Personal Injury: Mediation, Arbitration, or Litigation?
If you have been personally injured, you might have considered taking legal action to seek reparations for any physical or financial harms that were caused. If you do take legal action, there are many different legal courses that can be taken to settle your case. Three of these are Mediation, Arbitration, and Litigation. Throughout this article, we will explore each of these, how they are similar and different, and hopefully help you decide which one is right for you.
One person usually conducts mediation, called a mediator, whose purpose is to serve as an objective and neutral third-party authority in a settlement discussion. The mediator can help guide discussions or encourage agreement within the settling parties. In the end, the mediator doesn’t make any decisions. Arbitration, conversely, is a process where a group of arbitrators is chosen, who eventually decide the settlement. Although there can be a single arbitrator, typically there are three (each party chooses one, and then the two chosen arbitrators choose a third arbitrator). Both processes can either be binding or non-binding, and it is usually up to the parties to decide. Both of these differ from litigation in that they aren’t dealt with in the court system. Both mediation and arbitration are ways to settle legal disputes outside of the court system. Litigation, however, is what people typically think of a court case. This method is usually undesirable since it is very time consuming, causes a lot of stress and can be very expensive. Litigation is usually a last resort for parties that cannot reach a settlement through either mediation or arbitration. It is important to note that the processes are not mutually exclusive. In fact, they can be used in conjunction with one another, which is often the case. Some courts won’t even let cases be litigated until there is some meeting beforehand of either mediation or arbitration.
So, you have been personally injured and intend to sue. What should you do? First and foremost, gather as much evidence related to your injury as you can. Next, you should contact an attorney, like the Benton Law Firm, and discuss your options. You will need to decide if you want to pursue a process of mediation, arbitration or litigation. If you and your attorney decide to pursue mediation, you will need to create a pre-mediation contract in which both parties agree to the condition of mediation. This contract generally includes stipulations like the length of the mediation, whether or not it will be confidential, binding or non-binding, and who will conduct the mediation. If you choose arbitration, you will need to choose an arbitrator who you trust to be competent, fair and just. If the mediation or arbitration processes fail, or if you have decided that you don’t want to pursue these options, the only option left is litigation. If you choose litigation, you and your attorney will need to prepare a case to represent in court in front of a judge.