North Carolina car accident attorney Brent Adams visits Fayetteville radio station WIDU for a special legal segment "Making the Law Work for the People." During this visit he discusses ways that car accident victims can settle their claims outside of court. When negotiations with the opposing party prove unsuccessful, accident victims have a few options. In North Carolina, and other states, these out-of-court settlement options usually involve mediation or arbitration.
Mediation is a small settlement conference. The meeting includes the victim and/or the counsel representing them, the defense counsel, and a mediator. These conferences generally occur informally in a single room with all parties present. All of those present discuss what happened, the injuries sustained, and what a favorable outcome would be. A mediator helps both parties reach a resolution that satisfies both parties.
Arbitration is almost like a mini trial. The plaintiff selects an individual, the defense counsel selects another person, and a third neutral party is added to an arbitration panel. The circumstances of the accident, the damages and injuries, areas of negligence, and other evidence are presented to the panel. Based on medical bills presented and other matters, the panel decides the award.
Mediation offers control over negotiations, whereas an arbitration ultimately leaves the settlement decision up to an arbitration panel.
In most cases, a decision made from mediation or arbitration is final. For individuals who seek a trial process, Brent Adams and his legal team explain more on the full recording of the podcast, available here: "Mediation, Arbitration, and the Trial Process."