Out-of-court settlements are a large component of our justice system. In fact, a great majority of truck wrecks and other negligence cases are resolved before trial is held, or even before suit is filed. To facilitate these settlements, some form of alternative dispute resolution is nearly always involved in the process.
Parties often voluntarily agree to mediation or some other form of ADR. In many instances, mediation may help expedite the dispute resolution process, control litigation costs, and give the parties more control over the final outcome. Other times, the trial judge orders the parties to attempt ADR. In fact, many judges order the parties to mediation in almost all contested cases. In still other instances, there is a binding arbitration clause in the agreement or contract. Hit-and-run cases are a very good example, as most insurance agreements contain such a provision.
This form of ADR usually takes place in a suite of offices. The parties are in the same room to make opening statements, and then they retire to different rooms. A neutral mediator, who is usually an attorney, then conveys settlement offers and counter-offers between the parties until a resolution is achieved or the parties give up.
Because it requires less preparation time, and occurs sooner in the process than a trial, mediation sometimes results in significant cost savings. This feature alone makes it one of the most commonly-utilized forms of ADR.
This proceeding is very much like a trial, except there is no judge and no jury. Instead, an arbitrator hears the evidence and then renders a decision. This process is also much more formal than mediation. Additionally, there is always a resolution, because the outcome is not dependent on the parties. The arbitrator issues a ruling, whether the parties agree with it or not.
Sometimes, an arbitrator’s decision is able to be appealed to a district court or other forum. Other times, however, the proceeding is final.
As many as eight in ten jurors make up their minds following the opening statements, even though they have not heard any evidence in the case, and a summary trial leverages this fact. The attorneys select a group of neutral observers and present their opening statements. The “jury” then renders a verdict based on those arguments. This method is highly controversial but is still sometimes used.
To get all the money you have coming to you when you have been injured in an accident, contact a experienced personal injury attorney in New Braunfels. An attorney can arrange for you to see a doctor, even if you have no money and no insurance.