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Alternative Dispute Resolutions for Your Car Accident Claim


A civil trial can be very demanding because it requires a great deal of preparation, it can be costly, the emotional stress can be great, and if lengthy it can mean missing time from work, further adding to the financial requirements to go to trial.

As such, many choose to pursue alternative methods to reach a resolution for their case without having to take the case to a trial. These are called alternative dispute resolutions, or ADRs for short.

What Are Alternative Dispute Resolutions and What Are the Benefits?

An ADR is a method to settle a dispute without going to court. This includes arbitration and mediation in many cases. These methods can be cheaper than costly litigation, not to mention less time consuming and stressful.

Further, some ADRs promote cooperation among the sides to arrive at a fair resolution to which each party agrees. Below we explore how an ADR can help resolve car accident cases in Indianapolis when the claimant cannot reach an agreement with an insurer through negotiation.

How Do ADRs Help Resolve Car Wreck Cases?

If your car wreck occurred because of someone else’s negligence, more than likely you want to recoup the cost of a number of things including:

  • Lost wages
  • Car repair
  • Medical bills
  • Pain and suffering

The majority of car accident cases are resolved before they go to trial. This often takes place during negotiations with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, as Indiana’s fault-based insurance system allows accident victims to pursue compensation through the at-fault driver’s liability insurance. The insurer may offer a settlement, which if fair the claimant accepts and the matter is closed. But if the settlement is unfair and the claimant doesn’t accept, the case may proceed to a lawsuit.

Prior to trial, though, the parties may enter ADR to reach an agreement. One popular form of ADR is mediation. Mediation consists of a trained mediator who serves as a facilitator. A mediator suggests solutions, but cannot require either side to agree to any solution.

Arbitration requires someone to serve as an arbitrator who will make a final decision. Usually this will be a retired judge or lawyer, but the role can be fulfilled by anyone to which both parties agree. An arbitrator acts in the capacity of a judge. He or she will listen to presentations, ask questions, and render a decision based on evidence presented. The arbitrator’s decision cannot be appealed, however.

What Other ADR Methods Does Indiana Law Recognize?

While mediation and arbitration are perhaps the most well-known alternative dispute resolution methods, they are not the only ones that exist.

Other recognized ADR methods in Indiana include:

  • Conciliation
  • Facilitation
  • Mini-trials
  • Summary jury trials
  • Settlement negotiations
  • Private judges and judging
  • Convening or conflict assessment
  • Neutral evaluation and fact-finding
  • Multi-door case allocations
  • Negotiated rulemaking

How Do I Know If ADR Is Right for My Particular Case?

Hensley Legal Group in Indianapolis understands that not every claim requires a trial. ADR may indeed be the best option for your car accident dispute, though each case may differ so talk to a lawyer before proceeding with any option. When you call us for a free consultation at (317) 472-3333, we will discuss the points of your case to gain a better understanding of whether it is a good candidate for ADR. You may also set up a consultation by contacting us online.