The prospect of going before a jury or judge in a car accident or other personal injury case unsettles some people. They want fair compensation, but standing up in front of a group of strangers and telling their story of pain and suffering doesn’t seem worth it.
So what are you doing? The answer may be to look for alternatives to try.
The predominant variants of such alternatives are mediation and arbitration. Mediation is a process in which the different parties to the dispute select a third person to hear the facts and give their views on what is likely to happen in a legal process and what they believe would be a fair compromise solution.
Most court systems have some form of mediation, and often this is the case where litigation cases are actually resolved. In this case, the difference is that you can propose mediation before even filing a lawsuit. Although all parties have to agree to a mediation and a consensual mediator, the time and cost savings can be considerable.
The problem with mediation is that the claim will not necessarily be completed unless both sides agree to an amount proposed by the mediator.
The arbitration process differs in that it is usually the arbitrator who makes a final decision on how much money changes hands. It’s like a trial in front of a judge, but less daunting as it doesn’t take place in a courthouse or courtroom and no other members of the public are present. Many injured people find this less stressful.
Here, too, all sides have to agree to an arbitration procedure and sometimes there are set conditions for the arbitration procedure. These can include the change of ownership of the maximum and minimum compensation. Often times, insurance companies insist that regardless of what the arbitrator awards the plaintiff, they will at most pay their guilty driver’s insurance policy.
So, if you feel that you can’t handle courts, consider alternative dispute resolution.