Alternative Dispute Resolution in Personal Injury Cases

  • Personal Injury
April 3, 2024

Taking legal action can be expensive, time-consuming, and emotionally draining—particularly for personal injury victims who are simultaneously dealing with physical injuries. These are only a few reasons people choose alternative dispute resolution (ADR) in personal injury cases.

ADR typically involves a neutral third party (usually, a retired judge) who helps the two disputing parties settle outside the courtroom. ADR is more cost-effective than traditional litigation, informal, quicker, and gives personal injury victims greater control over the outcome.

In this post, we explore the three most common alternative dispute resolution pathways.


Mediation is, by far, the most commonly utilized form of ADR in Colorado personal injury cases. Typically, both parties agree to work with a neutral third party trained in facilitating negotiations. The process begins with the mediator meeting with both parties—sometimes together but most often separately—to discuss the case and identify the reason(s) for the dispute.

The goal? For both parties to explore a satisfactory resolution and find common ground. If both parties do so, they simply formalize the agreement in writing and trial is averted. If they cannot resolve the dispute, they litigate.

Mediation is first and foremost designed to eliminate conflict and open dialogue between disputing parties. This creates a more communicative environment and offers flexibility as both parties work together to create a satisfactory settlement solution. Mediation is also more affordable than litigation and confidential while allowing both parties to litigate if they cannot find a resolution.

Settlement Conferences

Settlement conferences are similar to the informal discussions lawyers have with each other at the beginning of the case. The difference is that these conferences are more structured (oftentimes supervised by a magistrate judge) and follow a specific agenda in hopes of reaching a resolution. The client and the insurance adjuster are typically present and actively engaged in the negotiations to ensure a better understanding of the other side’s perspective.

There are many advantages to settlement conferences. Their informal nature facilitates open and honest communication between parties. They also offer greater flexibility in scheduling, quicker resolutions, and lower costs. Like mediation, they give both parties greater control of the outcome as they can both agree on settlement terms.


In this process, a neutral arbitrator (typically an experienced attorney or retired judge) holds a hearing in which both parties present evidence and arguments supporting their case. Based on the strengths of the evidence and arguments, the arbiter makes a decision on the amount of damages to be awarded that is binding on both parties and can be reduced to judgment.

This is the most formal of all three alternative dispute resolution pathways because it is legally binding and typically cannot be appealed. People frequently choose arbitration because it is:

  • Less formal
  • Cheaper
  • Private
  • Streamlined—arbitration typically takes much less time than a court hearing
  • Final—there are limited grounds for appeal

We Empower Personal Injury Victims By Facilitating Swift, Fair Resolutions

Has someone else’s negligent behavior injured you? Alternative dispute resolution may offer a faster, less expensive, and less stressful path. With over 30 years of personal injury experience, we offer strategic yet empathetic legal solutions for personal injury victims. Whether you are facing a time-sensitive situation or need guidance on navigating complex legal procedures, our team is here to provide the support and advocacy you deserve. Contact us today!

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