In the context of a personal injury claim, alternative dispute resolution (also referred to as “ADR”), is a means for the parties to discuss a settlement of the claim without the need for a trial. The term ADR can refer to mediation, arbitration or even formal settlement discussions. ADR is becoming an increasingly popular approach to resolving personal injury cases in Ontario.
In most cases, the parties’ participation in ADR is voluntary. A common form of ADR is mediation. Mediation is defined as:
A form of dispute resolution where an impartial third party (a mediator) facilitates communication and negotiations between the parties, but does not decide the outcome of the dispute.
As a personal injury lawyer, I believe that mediation can be an effective tool for resolving disputes for several reasons.
- allows the parties to take an active role, and determine the outcome of their case;
- is a chance for the parties to become educated on the case, and the positions of all parties;
- engages an impartial mediator, which can be quite helpful;
- is intended to be a collaborative process;
- is a focused attempt to negotiate a resolution to a case, generally without distraction;
- is generally less costly, than a trial;
- is less risky than a trial;
- is less formal than a trial;
- is a confidential process;
- allows for procedural flexibility to accommodate the needs or wishes of the parties;
- presents an opportunity for the injured person to sit across from a representative of the defendant/insurer and communicate his or her position, generally though his or her lawyer, in a confidential and non-adversarial setting.
If you have questions regarding a personal injury matter, please feel free to contact me by email or by calling 519.660.7822.