Only a small number of personal injury and medical malpractice cases actually make it to trial. Instead, a large number of cases are settled prior to trial either through settlement negotiations, or through alternative dispute resolution such as mediation or arbitration. While mediation and arbitration have some similarities, it is important to understand their differences and the implications of resolving a case through alternative dispute resolution.
(Article continues below Infographic)What Is Arbitration? Arbitration is when the parties appear before one or more persons, known as arbitrators, who will hear the evidence and make a decision. In some cases, a contract will stipulate that any disputes are to be settled by arbitration, and in other situations, the parties will agree to arbitration after the claim has been filed. For instance, an auto insurance policy may state that all disputes about liability coverage are to be resolved through arbitration. In other cases, the parties may voluntarily decide to proceed with arbitration. Arbitration can be binding or non-binding. Non-binding arbitration more closely resembles mediation since the parties are not bound by the decision, but unlike mediation, the arbitrator will reach an independent decision without seeking compromise. Binding arbitration is similar to a trial because the parties are bound by the arbitrators’ decision. Arbitration provides some advantages over litigation, including the following:
- Parties can choose the arbitration tribunal.
- Often resolved more quickly than litigation.
- Decision may be confidential, whereas court decisions are public.
- Because appeals are limited, the duration of the dispute may be limited.
There are disadvantages to arbitration, however, including:
- Parties may waive their rights to access the court.
- Scheduling conflicts may arise since there are multiple arbitrators with different schedules.
- Discovery may be more limited.
What Is Mediation? Mediation is also a type of alternative dispute resolution, but unlike arbitration, the parties are not bound by the mediator’s decision. Instead, the parties will select a mediator who will meet with both parties and attempt to reach a compromise. Like arbitration, the process is confidential. Some of the advantages of mediation include:
- Cost effectiveness
- Creative resolutions
Some of the disadvantages of mediation include:
- Lack of predictability
Should You Use Arbitration or Mediation? The decision to use arbitration or mediation to resolve a personal injury dispute or medical malpractice claim should not be taken lightly. It is important to discuss the matter in detail with your personal injury attorney. The Chicago medical malpractice lawyers at Steinberg, Goodman & Kalish have significant experience with both arbitration and mediation can are available to answer any questions you may have. In any event, it is important to act quickly if you were the victim of negligence in order to protect your rights and preserve necessary evidence. Contact the Chicago medical malpractice lawyers at Steinberg, Goodman & Kalish at (312) 445-9084 to schedule a free consultation. Steinberg Goodman & Kalish (www.sgklawyers.com) is dedicated to protecting victims and their families. We handle medical malpractice, product liability, personal injury, wrongful death, auto accidents, professional negligence, birth trauma, and railroad law matters. Contact us at (888) 325-7299 or (312) 445-9084.