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What is the difference between mediation and arbitration?

In personal injury cases, both the plaintiff and defendant usually prefer to settle a case than to take it to trial. Two common out-of-court settlement methods are mediation and arbitration.

Both mediation and arbitration usually resolve a dispute faster and with less expense than litigation in court. Both are confidential proceedings, unlike court cases. They are both overseen by a neutral third party, and both are entered into voluntarily by both parties (unless the parties previously entered into a mediation or arbitration contract).

Mediation uses a neutral third party, called a “mediator”, to facilitate an agreement. The mediator is not a decision-maker. If the parties are unable to reach an agreement, they are free to pursue the dispute further. Mediation is informal; it does not follow the strict rules of evidence and procedure required by litigation.

Arbitration is overseen by an “arbitrator” or “arbiter.” Usually, the disputing parties agree to be legally bound by the decision of the arbitrator, and the decision rendered may rarely be appealed. Arbitration is more costly and more formal than mediation, but still less so than litigation.

The attorneys at the Lietz Law Firm are experienced in mediation and arbitration, and they will help you decide whether the particulars of your case warrant either of these forms of alternative dispute resolution.

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