Has Your Personal Injury Lawyer Considered Alternative Dispute Resolution?

Has Your Personal Injury Lawyer Considered Alternative Dispute Resolution?

In November 2013 and January 2014 I had the pleasure of presenting continuing legal education programs on Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) at the Brooklyn Law School for the Practicing Law Institute, and at the New York County Lawyers Association.

ADR refers to voluntary methods by the parties suing each other to resolve their legal dispute out of court. ADR can either be in the form of a mediation or arbitration.

Mediation is a meeting among the parties and a neutral 3rd party, who is called a mediator. The mediator works with the parties to bridge the gaps between them as to the assignment of fault and the amount of monetary damages suffered. Clients may attend the mediation. Mediation is non-binding. That means that if both sides can’t agree on a satisfactory settlement amount, the mediation process stops and the parties return to court proceedings to resolve the case. Under the mediation rules, nothing said at the mediation can be used at trial.

Arbitration is a hearing where both parties submit their best case to the neutral 3rd party, who is called an arbitrator. Clients and other witnesses may testify. After all of the evidence and arguments are submitted, the arbitrator will issue a FINAL, non-appealable decision. Both sides agree to be bound by that decision. This ADR method ends the case for all purposes.

Mediators and arbitrators are often retired judges or lawyers. It is important to note that they are paid by the parties for their ADR services.


  • Settle the case for full value
  • Jump start negotiations
  • Reveals both sides’ strengths and weaknesses


  • Case may not settle
  • ADR costs
  • No progress

ADR can be an efficient way to settle legal disputes, outside of court. Ideally, ADR results in a settlement that makes the client happy. When choosing a personal injury attorney, be sure to ask if he or she is experienced in Alternative Dispute Resolution to ensure that your lawyer has all tactics available to recover the highest monetary award for you.

Ron Katter
Katter Law Firm
Phone: 866-LAW-HELP
Alt Phone: 212-809-4293

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