In any business agreement, disputes are a possibility one must always be prepared for. While some might think the only way to handle such disagreements is through litigation, that is not always the case. Though a traditional lawsuit can be effective in securing a favorable outcome when one has the right representation, alternative dispute resolution should always be considered before heading to court.
Why consider alternative options?
Whether dealing with a landlord tenant dispute or a disagreement over a contract, there are many reasons one might want to avoid a lawsuit when a dispute arises. Not only can other options save the wronged party time, but also money and even stress. Additionally, if the dispute occurs between two parties who may wish to continue working together in the future, a lawsuit may further damage their working relationship. Seeking alternative options can also keep disputes from becoming public knowledge, which can be preferable for some businesses.
Alternative methods for contract dispute resolution
Even when seeking out alternative options, guidance from one of our Miami contract dispute attorneys is still advisable for determining the right course of action. Here are some alternative options we might suggest:
- Negotiation — Negotiation is a voluntary flow of communication, that can either occur directly between the disagreeing parties or through one’s attorney. The purpose of this communication is to settle the dispute by working together to develop a mutual agreement for resolution, often involving give and take from each side. This option is relatively inexpensive and can be quickly accomplished if both parties are cooperative.
- Mediation — Also voluntary, mediation involves seeking out a mediator (an impartial third-party) to facilitate negotiations. This may be an attorney or another qualified professional, whose job is essentially to keep the peace as a mutual agreement is formed. Mediation does have a cost associated with it and can take more time than more informal negotiations, but can be very effective for finding a solution.
- Arbitration — Like mediation, arbitration involves seeking out a third-party to hear both sides of the dispute. However, instead of facilitating negotiations between the parties, this individual will serve more as a judge and determine the agreement that each side will be bound to. These proceedings are typically more formal than the other two options, though still less so than traditional litigation. Arbitration can be explored on a voluntary basis, as well as involuntarily if it is determined as a necessary step within a signed contract.
To ensure these options are considered when a dispute arises, one might choose to include in the contract that alternative dispute resolution take place before formal litigation can begin. One of the most common reasons disputes escalate is a failure on one or both sides to consider other resolution options before rushing to litigation. Including this kind of clause in a contract can outline a clear course of action to take when disagreements occur, and thus can be favorable for all involved. Of course, litigation may ultimately be the right step to take if alternative options prove to be ineffective, in which case one should absolutely seek out proper legal guidance.
Those interested in learning more about their options for contract dispute resolution are welcome to schedule a free consultation with our experienced Miami contract dispute attorneys. To schedule your free consultation, reach out to our team today.