Mediation and Arbitration in Personal Injury Cases: What Are They and Why Should They Matter to You?

If you are injured in an accident and want to find the best way to recover compensation for the damages you suffered, then you might hear the words “mediation” and “arbitration” used. Keep reading to discover what these terms really mean – and then contact Law Offices of Fernando D. Vargas at 909-982-0707 to request a free legal consultation if you have been injured.

Mediations Are Voluntary

Mediation is voluntary. It is a settlement discussion in which both sides of the issue have agreed to sit down with a neutral third party and see if they can agree on a settlement. It is important to note that mediators do not have any power through the courts and cannot dictate a settlement. They are there only to try and help both sides agree on an outcome.

What to Expect in a Mediation

Generally speaking, mediation does not involve witnesses being called, and there is no testimony taken from anyone. It is an informal talk about the issues of the case. It is confidential by law and cannot be used if the mediation is unsuccessful and the case goes to court. This is done to encourage both sides to be open and honest during the process.

Arbitrations Are Binding

On the other hand, arbitration is binding. The arbitrator is empowered to act as both judge and jury, and they will reach a decision about the case that will be binding by law. In order to be in arbitration, both parties must have waived their right to a jury trial and waived their right to appeal.

What to Expect in an Arbitration

Arbitration is generally conducted in much the same way a trial is conducted. Witnesses can be called and questioned by the personal injury attorneys, the evidence is submitted, and the arbitrator can make evidentiary rulings. Once it is over, the arbitrator will enter a binding decision that includes a written explanation for their decision.

Reasons for Arbitration

There are a number of reasons a person might choose arbitration, but in many cases, it is contractual. For example, many hospitals have arbitration clauses that require you to go to arbitration rather than sue them directly. In other cases, both sides agree to an arbitrator because it is faster and because certain issues can be established and agreed upon by both parties before arbitration begins.

Is arbitration or mediation right for you? That depends on the specific type of accident and the extent of the injuries you have suffered. However, one thing is definitely true: it is worth contacting a personal injury attorney to determine your best options. You can contact Law Offices of Fernando D. Vargas now at 909-982-0707 for a free legal consultation.