What are other ways my case can be settled?

Most people, when they are in need of recovering money from someone whose actions have caused them injury, whether financial or physical, think about a lawsuit.  And of course, we’ve all seen the inside of a court room on TV and would assume that this would be the forum for pursuing a case.

However, there are other ways to resolve a case other than trial, arbitration and mediation. These are known as alternative dispute resolutions or ADR.

There are three alternatives to going to trial; Settlement by and between the parties, arbitration, and mediation.


Arbitration is typically a binding situation in which the parties agree to send their dispute to an arbitrator who will actually decide the dispute. Typically the agreements to go to arbitration preclude any kind of appeal of the decision. The matter is submitted to the arbitrator and that person will decide the fate of the parties.

Typical an arbitrator is a lawyer or retired judge but it could go to a layperson if a specialized knowledge is required.  All the parties must agree to go to arbitration and everyone must agree on the selection of the arbitrator.

Arbitration could lend itself to a much less expensive resolution of the dispute as the process tends to be much faster than going to trial. The discovery element of a lawsuit is often completed in a shorter period of time which can diminish litigation costs. Arbitration lends itself to a more relaxed atmosphere in terms of rules of evidence and people have more freedom in what can be presented to the arbitrator.  Generally, arbitration lends itself to a more civil and courteous process.


In a lot of ways mediation has become more popular than arbitration. In this situation a mediator attempts to get the parties to a point of mutual consensus.  Mediation is not a binding process. If no resolution is achieved, the parties can still bring a dispute to court.

Like arbitration, typically mediation is a more relaxed and less costly way to resolve a case. Mediations are facilitated by a skilled arbiter who has the abilities to try to bring the parties together. The mediator isn’t a decision maker. The mediator is someone whose job it is to try to help the parties reach a resolution acceptable to both sides.

Almost any case is suitable for mediation. Mediation tends to avoid the extremes that can happen with a jury trial.  Insurance companies are typically the moving force behind mediation because of the potentially high cost of litigation.  While mediation can run as long a couple days, generally the mediation process takes far less time than a trial.

While mediation can be an effective and equitable form of dispute resolution, it’s not without some pitfalls.  Because it’s not binding, mediation can be used as a tool for the other side to get a better look at your case and to evaluate you as a client and your position. The other side can walk away after that kind of assessment, potentially leading to a disadvantage if the case then goes to court.

However, 85% of cases that do go to mediation come to a resolution which could save a lot of time, stress and aggravation. Ask your lawyer what the correct course of action would be for you and your particular case.

If you are in need of legal assistance from an experienced law firm, contact Pellegrini, Seeley, Ryan & Blakesley, P.C. at 800-785-5399.

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