Licensed in Missouri and Kansas

Mediation vs. Arbitration

The vast majority of personal injury cases settle before trial. Nearly as many settle even before a lawsuit is ever filed. Two of the most common ways cases are settled is mediation and arbitration. Although both methods are effective ways of settling a case, they differ greatly. If you have a personal injury case and want to try and settle it before trial, it is important to understand the differences in these two settlement approaches.

A mediation is when the parties to a personal injury case get together in one place and try and negotiate a settlement. The negotiation is facilitated by a mediator. The mediator's job is to try and push the parties to negotiate to a middle ground. A mediation is usually an informal proceeding. Most importantly, however, it is not binding. If the parties can't meet in the middle, then they don't have to settle. Furthermore, the mediator does not make any binding decisions.

An arbitration, however, is binding. This settlement technique involves a more formal proceeding in which the parties submit their case to an arbitrator who then issues a final, binding decision. There is no negotiation.

Most personal injury cases are better suited for mediation rather than arbitration. Some cases, however, are suited for arbitration. Cases in which it isn't quite clear whether the defendant is liable can be good options for arbitration. This is because arbitration, although a formal proceeding, generally does not cost as much as a jury and the risks aren't as great.

If you have a personal injury claim such as a car accident or slip or trip and fall and want to know more about settlement options, please call me. I am an experienced Kansas City personal injury attorney and can answer your questions about mediation and arbitration.