When people suffer injuries, they have a number of options for pursuing fair compensation and the medical costs that pile up during treatment and recovery. Many people imagine the process as something very official playing out in a large courtroom, possibly because of the mountain of television shows, movies and books about lawyers winning decisive victories for their clients in court.
However, in Hawaii, the vast majority of personal injury cases resolve outside of the court. Often, settling a personal injury case outside of court is the best way, but ensuring an equitable resolution for the injured party requires an attorney with years of experience pursuing fair compensation in Hawaii’s legal system.
Many ways to reach a fair resolution
Because of the volume of personal injury cases that arise in Hawaii compared to the size of its court system infrastructure and some state-specific laws that often affect settlements, about 80 percent of all personal injury claims here use some form of out-of-court settlement procedure.
There are a number of options when it comes to negotiating a fair settlement out of court in Hawaii, most commonly entailing either mediation or arbitration.
Mediation usually comes into play with personal injury cases that hold the potential to incur settlements of $150,000 or more. Even if your case eventually proceeds to court, most judges prefer that cases with potentially large settlements work with a mediator before moving into the courtroom.
A mediator is a neutral party who understands the legal issues at stake and fair guidelines for each party in the conflict. The mediator maintains a neutral position and helps each side work together to reach a fair settlement, providing guidance to each side about how they might make concessions to reach a reasonable middle ground. Once both parties reach a fair agreement, the mediator presents the settlement to the court. Using a mediator does not preclude you from retaining your own legal counsel.
If your injury claim is likely to result in a settlement of less than $150,000, it will usually undergo arbitration through the Court Annexed Arbitration Program. Under arbitration, an arbitrator considers the merits of a claim much in the same way that a judge would, without incurring many of the costs of trying a case in court. The arbitrator hears arguments from both sides, much like a judge does, and decides on a fair, usually non-binding, resolution.
Don’t settle for less than you deserve
Mediation and arbitration are excellent tools for seeking fair compensation to help you recover and rebuild after an injury, even a very serious one.
Of course, it is always wise to approach any mediation or arbitration scenario with a strong legal team of attorneys with years of experience using these methods to achieve solid results.
With proper legal counsel, you can rest assured that your rights remain secure as you seek justice.