Mediation, Arbitration, and Litigation – What are Your Options?

Accidents happen every day, but since we never actually expect them to strike close to home, the aftermath of an accident can be an incredibly challenging experience. Personal loss and severe injury due to the negligence of another party can leave you grappling with overwhelming stress and intense emotion. In instances such as vehicle accidents or injuries resulting from negligence, the impact can be particularly traumatic. If you’ve lost a loved one under such circumstances, that adds an additional layer of emotional distress.

Navigating the complexities of what comes next is crucial, and coping with the aftermath of a severe injury or the loss of a loved one demands both resilience and support. Many individuals who have been the victim of misconduct or negligence presume that calling an attorney means you wish to pursue litigation, but this is simply not the case. An attorney is your advocate, and you can ensure that your interests are best served by retaining a reputable legal counsel.

In many cases, the injured party may wish to avoid court and settle a case more amicably. In the state of Georgia, most cases can be resolved through mediation, arbitration, or litigation. But what are the differences, and what can you expect from each process?

What is Mediation?

In Georgia, mediation is a voluntary and confidential process designed to facilitate dispute resolution outside the traditional courtroom setting. The mediator is a mutually agreed-upon neutral third party whose role is to assist both parties in reaching a mutually acceptable agreement.

Mediation is widely used in Georgia to resolve a variety of conflicts, including medical malpractice and personal injury cases. The mediator serves as an intermediary between the parties, guiding them through a structured dialogue that explores their view of the case, identifies common ground, and generates potential solutions. While the mediator does not make decisions or impose settlements, their role is to empower the parties to make informed choices and develop a creative resolution that meets their unique needs. For instance, mediation may result in the injured party receiving an apology from the defendant as part of the resolution in addition to financial compensation for their damages.

Mediation agreements become legally binding once both parties have signed a written agreement, allowing flexibility throughout the process. Mediation provides a cost-effective, efficient path to resolution that promotes a collaborative approach to conflict resolution in the legal system.

What is Arbitration?

Arbitration is a dispute resolution process where parties involved in a legal conflict agree to submit their dispute to an arbitrator or panel of arbitrators. The arbitrator is a neutral third party, often a retired judge or attorney. In arbitration, the case is argued before the arbitrator before they deliver their decision on the case. While the process is less formal than a court trial and rules of proceeding are more flexible, the arbitrator’s decision is typically binding.

Arbitration may be used to resolve various types of disputes, including wrongful death, personal injury, or car accident cases. While arbitration does offer efficiency and some confidentiality, it is essential for parties in Georgia to carefully consider the terms and the selection of arbitrators, as the decision reached in arbitration may have legal implications.

What is Litigation?

Going to court in Georgia involves engaging in a formal legal process to resolve disputes or address legal matters. Georgia’s court system provides an impartial, structured environment for litigants to present their cases before a jury and/or judge. Going to court in Georgia requires adherence to legal protocols, effective representation, and an understanding of the specific rules and regulations that govern the type of case being pursued.

Litigation typically takes place in open court, although select cases may be tried before a closed court. In this scenario, both the plaintiff and the defendant are legally bound by the judge and jury’s decision. While many rulings are appealed, the court’s decision is non-negotiable and often takes immediate effect.

Consider Your Options

Mediation and arbitration offer the advantage of resolving disputes with greater privacy than litigation. Mediation, in particular, tends to be less confrontational than litigation. It provides a platform for parties involved to work together towards a resolution, which can help preserve relationships that might otherwise be strained in a courtroom battle.

Given the significant differences between mediation, arbitration, and litigation, your attorney can advise you in the context of your specific situation to determine the most suitable approach for your case. They can provide valuable insights into the nuances of each option, allowing you to make an informed decision that aligns with your goals.

Why Choose a Personal Injury Attorney for Your Case?

Whether you wish to pursue mediation, arbitration, or litigation in your case, your interests are undeniably best served by a personal injury attorney with significant trial experience. In each case, a trial lawyer will have the experience necessary to fight for maximum compensation and an ideal resolution. Additionally, contacting an attorney as quickly as possible after the incident may prevent mistakes that could derail your case before it even begins.

We encourage you to contact our office if you or a family member have been injured due to negligence or misconduct. We are committed to supporting you and your family and will relentlessly

The Balams Firm

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310 Maxwell Road, Suite 500
Alpharetta, GA 30009

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ReShea Balams

ReShea Balams is an award winning attorney and the founder of The Balams Firm.  Prior to answering her true calling to represent families impacted by life-changes tragedies, ReShea gained invaluable experience and insight as an attorney for large insurance companies.  She is known for her record of exceptional results on behalf of clients, and is a zealous advocate for injury victims.

  • American Association for Justice
  • Georgia Trial Lawyers Association
  • Atlanta Bar Association
  • Gate City Bar Association
  • The National Crime Victim Bar Association
  • State Bar of Georgia
  • The National Trial Lawyers - Top 40 Under 40
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