Settlement:

  • If a lawyer representing a personal injury victim can show to the insurance company that he has a firm grasp of the facts, has all of the necessary medical records and other exhibits to prove the case at trial, it would typically rather pay a fair settlement amount and remove the claim from its books and avoid legal fees. Often, trials are necessary when crucial facts of liability and/or damages are in dispute.

  • An experienced personal injury attorney will seek from the outset to build a case of clear liability and damages. Poorly prepared cases will be more difficult to settle and will have a lower settlement value. Settlement of a claim for less than full value not only takes money out of the pocket of the client, but also reduces the attorney’s share as well.

 

 
Settlement, Arbitration & Trial

       For informational purposes only. Always consult an attorney to obtain competent legal advice.

Arbitration and Mediation:

  • When settlement negotiations are unsuccessful in resolving a personal injury claim, the parties can agree to refer the matter to mediation or arbitration. Mediation is non-binding. Arbitration can be non-binding or binding depending upon the agreement entered into by the parties.

  • In the case of binding arbitration, parameters can be set prior to the arbitration hearing to establish a minimum and maximum amount that an injured party will receive.

  • Mediators and arbitrators are experienced attorneys who are chosen by the attorneys representing the injured parties and all insurance companies involved. The mediator or arbitrator is intended to be an unbiased person whose role it is to identify the strengths and weaknesses of each side and to communicate these to the lawyers. This input can be valuable in resolving personal injury claims.

  • Arbitration and mediation has also become the preferred method of dispute resolution in other kinds of legal claims, including construction disputes, contract disputes, divorce proceedings, and almost all other types of legal claims.

  • Many "class action" law suits are resolved via arbitration.

Trial in the Superior Court:

  • Almost all trials of personal injury claims in Rhode Island take place in one of the four Superior Courts, usually the one located in the county in which the injured party resides. 

  • The Rhode Island Constitution gives every resident the right to have a jury determine damages and the Superior Court, unlike the District Court, has the facilities for jury trials. However, the parties may waive their right to a trial by jury and instead agree that the judge presiding over the trial will determine all factual issues of liability and damages.