Most personal injury cases settle out of court because both parties would rather compromise than endure the time and expense of a trial. Mediation and arbitration are two often-confused, common processes used in settlement.
Mediation and arbitration share some characteristics. They are both confidential, unlike a trial. They are overseen by a neutral third party and are entered into voluntarily. They usually take less time and money than a trial and follow fewer rules; this is especially true of mediation.
Mediation is overseen by a “mediator,” who is tasked with facilitating an agreement between the parties. The mediator does not decide cases. If the parties fail to agree on a settlement in mediation, they will likely pursue arbitration or a trial.
Arbitration, in contrast, is overseen by an “arbitrator” or “arbiter,” who is tasked with making a ruling in the case. Upon initiating arbitration, the disputing parties agree to be bound by the arbiter’s ruling. The ruling can rarely be appealed.
At LaGarde Law Firm, we have extensive experience in mediation, arbitration and trials.