If you are involved in a lawsuit in Austin for the first time, it can be helpful to understand a little bit about what paths to resolution are available. Many courts encourage parties to pursue settlement outside of the courtroom. This can save you the time and cost of a lengthy and expensive trial. Two such methods of resolving a case are arbitration and mediation. Here is how they are different and how they same.
An arbitration is the more formal of the two types of proceedings, although less formal than an actual trial. As the Huffington Post points out, arbitrations can either be binding or non-binding. A binding decision means that you will be held to it and your opponent can take you to court if you do not adhere to its terms. A non-binding decision means that the parties can reject the arbitrator's solution and pursue other avenues, including trial.
Arbitrators are not judges but they are neutral parties with no interest in the outcome of the case. An aribtrator will listen to each side argue its case and carefully consider the evidence presented before rendering a decision.
A mediator is also a neutral party and functions similarly, although there are some key differences. For one, a mediator's decision is not binding on the parties. You can choose to accept it or not. In addition, mediation is more of a collaborative effort, where the mediator attempts to make the parties see eye to eye and come up with a solution that is acceptable to everyone. This is not intended to be legal advice and is provided as general information on this topic.