Of all the personal injury claims that arise in New York each year, only a tiny fraction of them see a courtroom. There are several reasons why judges and juries decide so few claims brought by a personal injury lawyer:
- Trials can be expensive, and some parties would prefer to avoid the cost
- Juries and judges can be unpredictable in the verdicts they hand down
- It can take years before a claim is ready for trial
Instead, most personal injury lawsuits are resolved by a settlement agreement out of court. Beyond trial and settlements, however, there are other means for determining personal injury claims.
Settlements Are Popular, but Not Always Possible
If you have been hurt and bring suit against the at-fault party, there is a significant chance your case can settle. In a settlement, you and the at-fault party agree on how much compensation you should receive.
The other party has a timeframe within which to pay the agreed-to amount. Once the other party pays that amount, you give up any further claim for compensation against that defendant.
Settlements allow you and the other party control over your claim’s resolution. While you may not receive as great of a compensation award as you might have obtained through a trial, being confident that you will receive some compensation has value.
Similarly, for defendants, being sure of the extent of their legal exposure is often preferable to risking a judge or jury awarding a massive judgment against them. However, both you and the other party must agree to any settlement terms. If there is any disagreement, then the case will not settle.
Alternative Dispute Resolution Methods
What if parties do not want to go to trial but cannot reach a settlement? In such a case, alternative dispute resolution (ADR) may be appropriate. As the name implies, ADR encompasses non-traditional methods of disposing of a claim and is used when the parties cannot settle their differences through negotiation.
There are two primary types of alternative dispute resolution methods:
Arbitration is a method of ADR wherein the parties submit the claim to a third party, who then adjudicates the dispute. The arbitrator may receive evidence and arguments in a summary fashion, akin to an abbreviated trial. The arbitrator decides whether you should receive any compensation and if so, how much is appropriate.
Arbitration can be mandatory in some situations, and the arbitrator’s decision may be binding or advisory.
Parties that enter into mediation submit their dispute to a third-party mediator. The mediator attempts to forge an agreement between the parties and break any impasse to settlement.
While some courts may order mediation, the suggested resolution of the mediator is always advisory. The parties do not have to agree to any agreement proposed by the mediator.
You Still Need an Experienced New York Personal Injury Lawyer
Retaining a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer in New York swiftly after an accident can help protect your right to compensation no matter how your case proceeds. The Law Offices of Kenneth Hiller, PLLC is comfortable fighting for you in the courtroom, at the negotiating table, and using ADR when appropriate.
Schedule a complimentary case review with us today.