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Alternatives to going to trial

Companies and individuals in Texas who are looking for alternatives to trial have a couple of options to consider. There are times when arguing a case in a courtroom is a viable option, but it is sometimes unnecessary and results in stress and financial burden.

According to FindLaw, two of the types of alternative dispute resolutions are mediation and arbitration. In mediation, a neutral third party assists the two sides in coming to a mutual agreement. The mediator uses their expertise to help the opposing parties and discuss their liabilities and legal rights. Although a mediator helps negotiate an agreement, he or she cannot express opinions or give advice. In certain matters dealing with real estate or accounting, another professional may be brought in to help advise the two sides.

In arbitration a third party, the arbitrator, is picked by both sides to make a decision based on evidence and each side's story. In some situations, the opposing parties can choose to continue on to trial if they do not agree with the arbitrator's decision. However, when the arbitration is binding, the decision cannot be changed by a court's ruling.

While these alternatives have a number of advantages over trial, they are not appropriate for all circumstances. As is pointed out by the Superior Court of California, some of the disadvantages include:

  • Additional money and time must be spent if an agreement is not made or the arbitrator's decision is not satisfactory 
  • In a binding situation, the case is not protected by the court
  • They are not as effective if not enough information about each side's case is available
  • There is a time limit when lawsuits are involved

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