What is the Difference Between Mediation and Arbitration?

By  //  July 26, 2019

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Court cases are typically expensive, time-consuming

Let’s face it. No one wants to go to court. Court cases are typically expensive, time-consuming and in many ways inefficient.

Let’s face it. No one wants to go to court. Court cases are typically expensive, time-consuming and in many ways inefficient.

Fortunately, the legal process allows for other methods of reaching a conclusion on a case, that does not involve a formal judge or jury. Mediation and arbitration are often used in today’s legal system.

Though they share some similarities, the process and subsequent outcomes of mediation and arbitration are completely different.

According to the attorneys at rmfwlaw.com, it is recommended to have an attorney represent you during both the mediation and arbitration process. Since both of these processes are held outside of the courts, it is tantamount that you work with an experienced attorney that can represent you well.

What is Mediation?

During mediation, the mediator helps to bring the case to a settlement. Their job is not to make final decisions, place blame or issue any orders. Instead, they facilitate communication between parties, uncover and present relevant information and help to create varying settlement options.

In many states, some form of mediation is required before civil suits (including personal injury cases) are allowed to go to court. During the mediation process, the mediator will typically have discussions with both parties; together and other times, separately. Their goal is to help both sides reach a mutually beneficial conclusion.

The mediation process is sometimes preferred over arbitration or other court proceedings because the result is not final and can be controlled in many instances.

What is Arbitration?

In many personal injury court cases, both parties request arbitration or a judge orders it. Arbitration can be binding or non-binding.

They are typically presided over by retired judges, respected attorneys or subject matter experts. Arbitration decisions are typically final and enforceable by the law. In most instances, the losing party will not be allowed to appeal the decision of an arbitrator.

Many courts have a list of proven arbitrators to choose from, or you may choose to work with a private arbitrator. During the process, they will listen to both sides and take into account all evidence provided.

Arbitrators will then make a written decision which is called an “award”. People typically opt for arbitration in cases that require a complex understanding of a subject matter and/or when they do not wish to go through a lengthy and publicized court process.

Difference Between Mediation and Arbitration

The biggest difference between arbitration and mediation is that arbitrators come to conclusions and mediators just help to facilitate the process.

In addition, most arbitration conclusions are final. There will typically not be an appeals process allowed. Meditation, on the other hand, is not binding. During the process, mediators only seek to help both parties to come to a mutually beneficial conclusion.

While it does not matter if either side agrees with the final decision of an arbitrator, meditations can continue until an agreeable conclusion is reached. In many ways, arbitration is a lot like going through the court systems without the judge, jury, or public information made available.

Furthermore, arbitration does not usually involve negotiations that take place out of the court setting. If you have a case that is likely to go to arbitration or mediation, connecting with an experienced attorney can help to greatly increase your likelihood of a positive outcome.

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