Private Mediation is different from binding personal injury arbitration. Mediation is not binding. In mediation the mediator may be a practicing attorney, semi retired attorney, insurance adjuster, an insurance claims adjuster, or a retired judge.
Many liability insurance companies will have what is called settlement day where they attempt to dispose of a litany of cases all heard by a single mediator. The session usually lasts thirty to forty minutes. In smaller dollar cases settlement day at an insurance company regional office can be quite effective.
Often an adjuster will have a supervisor or manager available who can authorize settlement for a recommended dollar amount as suggested by the mediator. This can help expedite the resolution of a client's case saving the client months waiting for a pretrial or trial date along with all the costs associated with litigation and trial. The client also has the opportunity to verbally express himself which often will relieve a client's frustration over the facts of the case. Usually, there is a small fee paid to the mediator which is substantially less than the fees paid in a protracted arbitration.
The essential difference between mediation and arbitration is that in mediation the mediator uses powers of persuasion to get the parties to resolve their own differences. In arbitration, the arbitrator should act in a neutral manner and is a fact finder who applies legal principles to render an award. It is actually improper for an arbitrator to try to try to exert leverage over parties to attempt resolution before the award is issued. This destroys the objective role of the arbitrator as a fact finder.Mediation Vs. Arbitration
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