When on the cusp of a legal situation, Georgia residents can avoid going through a full trial by reaching an agreement through an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR).
The non-profit and public service organization American Arbitration Association (AAA) has advocated for alternative dispute resolutions in the United States since 1926.
The Supreme Court of Georgia started its local ADR programs in 1990 when it formed a commission that was tasked with discovering how the state could use alternative processes to complement existing methods. The Alternative Dispute Resolution Rules were implemented two years later, and thousands of cases have been settled through ADR since 1993.
ADR has been known to resolve legal disputes over issues involving:
- Loans, leases and debts
- Insurance disputes
- Business partnerships
- Homeowners’ associations
How Does Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Work?
ADR offers more opportunities for people living in Georgia to settle disputes and find solutions they are hoping for while avoiding litigation altogether. It may allow you to stay out of the courts and come to a resolution through facilitation, mediation or arbitration.
- Facilitation is done with the help of a facilitator who is generally hired to take over the “tasks” or “processes” required of ADR. This person focuses solely on gathering information and managing the flow of discussion without coming to their own conclusion. The solution is typically handled by the parties involved in the dispute.
- Mediation is like facilitation in the sense that a mediator must guide the group through constructive negotiations — helping build trust and strengthen relationships. What’s different about a mediator is they are a neutral third party and they set clear boundaries to promote a fair and principled debate.
- Arbitration is a method that allows parties to air their grievances outside of the court in a less intimidating environment. It is typically less time-consuming and inexpensive compared to litigation. A neutral third party or panel renders a decision by reviewing the evidence and case facts. Georgia only has non-binding arbitration, meaning you don’t have to accept the arbitration decision as long as you demand a full trial by a set deadline after arbitration has concluded.
What Are the Benefits of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)?
ADR offers several advantages for legal disputes in Georgia:
- More flexibility: ADR can be scheduled at any time, unlike a trial date that may be far in the future and can’t easily be rescheduled.
- Inexpensive: Litigations can get pricey with attorney fees, court fees and document expenses. ADR is much more cost-effective because there are fewer steps, more flexibility and shorter timeframes.
- Time-efficient: Upon filing a lawsuit, ADR can offer a settlement or award as quickly as a few weeks or months.
- Bias-free: Neutral third parties with subject-matter expertise can facilitate a resolution while holding zero interest in the outcome.
- Private: Most court trials are in the public record, but ADR is strictly confidential. This is particularly beneficial for high-profile clients who prefer anonymity.
- Minimizes friction between parties: With a trained neutral third party facilitating or mediating the dispute, conversations can remain cordial, and relationships left intact.
Who Does Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Benefit?
Georgia’s ADR system resolves cases without the need for full court intervention or trials. This could be beneficial for every party involved.
- Litigants (a.k.a. the person(s) involved in a lawsuit) benefit from ADR because it’s cost-effective and time efficient.
- Attorneys benefit from ADR because it helps reduce overcrowded courts and enables them to meet the client’s needs with fewer hours of labor.
- ADR requires fewer taxpayer dollars to reach a case conclusion, alleviating the pressure on Georgia’s already strained judicial system.
- Judges and juries have more time to spend concentrating on cases that cannot be resolved without ADR.
Although ADR is the faster, preferable method for litigants who are capable of reaching a compromise, it’s not the right option for every case. This is especially true if one or both sides of a legal dispute are entrenched in their positions. In those scenarios, a trial may be your only option.
Seeking Personal Injury Legal Assistance in Georgia
If you have been injured in a car accident, slip and fall or any other kind of accident, our attorneys at the Dressie Law Firm can help you through the legal processes of filing a claim. Our team in Georgia is eager to fight for the compensation you deserve.
Contact our Atlanta office at (678) 735-3734 for a free case evaluation.