The Pros and Cons of One Method of Alternative Dispute Resolution
Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) involves any means of settling legal disputes, including personal injury cases, outside of a courtroom. The two most common forms of ADR are mediation and arbitration.
How Do Arbitration and Mediation Differ?
Mediation is an informal procedure in which a third party (the mediator) tries to help the disputing parties settle their dispute. Mediation is not binding upon the parties, and the mediator will not consider evidence.
The formal process of arbitration is similar to litigation. The third party, or arbitrator, considers evidence, hears arguments, and is authorized to make a decision that can be either binding or nonbinding.
Before arbitration begins, the parties involved must make certain decisions, including who will pay court and legal fees, how the arbitration will happen, and whether it will be binding or nonbinding. Then an arbitrator must be chosen to make the final decision.
What Is an Arbitrator and Where Can I Find One?
An arbitrator is a third party who hears the evidence presented by both sides of the dispute and makes a decision. There are no certifications or qualifications to become an arbitrator, and the only condition is that both parties agree on who will arbitrate their case. Retired or former judges often become arbitrators, and in many cases, the arbitrators selected are experts in a particular field or industry. Sometimes an arbitration clause that both parties have signed will specify the qualifications that potential arbitrators must possess. In recent years, many businesses are including mandatory arbitration clauses into contracts, requiring that consumers agree to arbitrate disputes rather than litigate them.
Retaining a Colorado personal injury attorney for the arbitration hearing is recommended, and many attorneys have experience with arbitration and certain arbitrators that they trust.
Pros and Cons of Arbitration
When deciding whether to take part in any method of ADR, including arbitration, the parties will need to examine the pros and cons of each. It is important to note that most arbitration decisions are binding to all parties involved, and typically are not eligible for appeal unless the outcome is unreasonably unfair. Arbitrators often have much more experience than the standard courtroom judge, and unlike a judge, the parties have control over which arbitrator is chosen.
The primary concern most people have with arbitration is that it often results in a binding decision that is final, although a nonbinding outcome usually provides little or no resolution. A binding decision might not compensate the injured party completely, yet there is no possibility to appeal the decision except on extremely narrow grounds. There is also a lack of formal evidence and discovery of facts in a typical arbitration, as no witness testimony is taken. Colorado personal injury claims are often extremely complex matters that require significant evidence to be presented and witnesses to be called.
Before you agree to binding arbitration, consult with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney who will review the details of your case and help you receive just compensation for your injuries.