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Types of Alternative Dispute Resolution for Personal Injury Cases

Posted on behalf of Lynch Law Firm on Sep 10, 2021  in Personal Injury News

Stock image of three people discussing legal documentsUnfortunately, injury victims often dismiss the idea of pursuing compensation for their damages because they think they will need to go to court and testify before a jury.

While there are personal injury cases that end up going to trial, most do not. They are resolved beforehand, as both sides negotiate a settlement they can both agree on. These negotiations can be referred to as alternative dispute resolution (ADR).

Our personal injury lawyers in New Jersey discuss the different forms of ADR and what injury victims need to know about them.

Settlement Negotiations

The most common form of ADR is agreeing to settle a claim. Settlement negotiations start with the victim’s attorney sending a demand letter to the liable party’s insurance company stating the facts of the situation, evidence supporting your injuries and what you are demanding in compensation. Once the letter is sent, the liable party must respond to your demands by the deadline stated in the demand letter.

The liable party rarely agrees to the victim’s demands right away. Generally, the insurance company makes a settlement offer for much less than the victim is asking.

After this, there may be multiple counteroffers between the victim’s attorney and the insurance company before an agreement can be reached. Once an agreement is reached, the victim agrees to release the insurance company and the at-fault party from future liability in exchange for the compensation provided by the settlement.

Arbitration

One of the least common forms of ADR is arbitration, in which an objective third party makes a decision on how to resolve the claim. Injury victims may decide to use arbitration to eliminate court costs that can cut into the settlement they receive.

Typically, arbitration does not happen unless both sides agree to it. If both sides agree, they must decide whether the arbitrator’s decision will be binding. That means the decision cannot be appealed. If the decision is non-binding, it can be appealed, and the victim may be able to file a lawsuit.  

Arbitration is not only cheaper but more private than a lawsuit. That may be one reason why some injury victims choose arbitration instead of filing a lawsuit.

It is important to note that sometimes arbitration may be the only option for resolving certain kinds of disputes. Many companies, like insurance companies, place fine print in their contracts stating that any disputes must be resolved through arbitration. Personal injury protection policies often say this. 

Mediation

The process of mediation is a sort of mixture of settlement negotiations and arbitration. A mediator listens to the demands and facts of each side and tries to come up with a settlement both sides can agree on.

Mediation is generally more common than arbitration for several reasons. For one, a mediator’s time is generally cheaper than an arbitrator’s because they may have to do less work since there is no discovery process in mediation. Second, judges often order disputing parties to undergo mediation to resolve their disputes.

Many injury victims may also consider resolving their dispute through mediation if settlement negotiations break down before filing a lawsuit.

Call an Experienced Attorney Today

If you were injured in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you have the legal right to pursue compensation for your damages. How you go about pursuing that compensation may depend on the facts of your case. That is why having a knowledgeable attorney to advise you on your legal options may be beneficial to you.

The attorneys at Lynch Law Firm have decades of experience trying and winning injury cases. This includes significant experience negotiating with insurance companies to recover full compensation for our clients.

We are prepared to discuss the facts of your claim during a free consultation. There are no upfront fees if you choose to work with us, and we do not get paid unless we win.

Call us today at (800) 518-0508  

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Hasbrouck Heights Office

440 Route 17 North,
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