Meca L. Walker,
Associate Judge 2007-2016
Walker ADR Services
Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution that allows the parties to take control of their case. If an agreement is not reached, the parties may decide to arbitrate or litigate. Benefits to mediation include the following:
*it is confidential and cannot be used against any party in court;
*it allows the parties to be creative and think outside of the box; and
*it offers an opportunity to reach a peaceful resolution in a short amount of time and saves time, money and stress.
If the parties are unable to reach an agreement, Arbitration is another form of alternative dispute resolution that has several advantages over litigation in court. Arbitration awards are final and enforceable. The Arbitrator is selected by the parties on the basis of desired characteristics and experience. The cost for Arbitration can be less expensive than formal litigation with a quicker time for resolution. In Arbitration the parties are able to design the process to accommodate their respective needs, for example, the parties can determine:
*the nature and scope of discovery (including whether to allow depositions);
*the conduct of the hearing (including testimony by video);
*the length of time for the entire process; and
*the parties can pre-screen the Arbitrator for disclosure issues, experience, and availability.
Appraisal is a form of alternative dispute resolution that is found in most homeowner insurance policies. Most policies state that appraisal is mandatory when properly demanded by the insurer or insured. It is an informal process conducted by 2 appraisers who determine solely the amount of loss. If the 2 appraisers disagree, then the umpire (who should be impartial, independent and free from bias) issues an award as to amount of loss only that is final and binding on both parties. The appraisal process saves both the insurer and the insured time and money.
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