When you experience an injury caused by negligence, you can seek legal compensation for your damages. This does not necessarily mean you have to go to court, however.
Review the alternative dispute resolution (ADR) options to consider after a personal injury in Hawaii.
Hawaii has established the court-annexed arbitration program (CARP) to handle personal injury cases with potential damages of less than $150,000. If your case applies, the arbitration process attempts to resolve your case without a trial. Both sides present evidence to a neutral arbitrator, typically an attorney, who makes a nonbinding decision. That means if you do not agree with the arbitration results, you can pursue mediation or litigation.
With this option, you work together with the responsible party to reach a settlement that covers the costs of your injuries. A professional mediator serves as a neutral third party during the mediation sessions. If you file a personal injury lawsuit, the judge may refer your case to mediation.
Hawaii resolves most personal injury cases worth more than $150,000 in mediation. Like arbitration, mediation is not legally binding.
If your case qualifies for a settlement conference, you negotiate with the other party in front of a judge. He or she might use mediation techniques to help you reach an agreement. In Hawaii, you can request a settlement conference or receive a referral from the judge.
ADR methods are typically less costly and time-consuming than suing the responsible party in court. That means you can move forward with litigation if you cannot reach an agreement in mediation, arbitration or settlement conference.