Alternatives to Trial in Medical Malpractice Law

Medical malpractice litigation can be complex, emotional, and expensive – especially when going to trial. In many instances, that is not the best path. Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) offers alternative methods for victims seeking the best possible outcome for their unique situation.

What is Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)?

Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) refers to a range of methods used to resolve legal disputes outside the traditional courtroom setting. ADR provides a platform for patients to discuss their issues and potentially reach a settlement without the need for a costly and lengthy trial.


One form ADR may take is mediation. This is a voluntary process where a neutral third party (the mediator) helps facilitate a conversation between you and your attorneys, and the healthcare provider you’re bringing legal action against.

  1. Selection of a Mediator: Both parties agree on a qualified mediator with expertise in medical malpractice disputes.
  2. Discussion and Negotiation: The mediator guides discussions, allowing each side to present their perspectives and concerns.
  3. Agreement or Impasse: If an agreement is reached, it is documented, and both parties sign it. If not, the case may proceed to trial.

Mediation is often praised for its flexibility, confidentiality, and its potential to maintain or repair the doctor-patient relationship.


Another common ADR method is arbitration. It’s a more formal process that involves a neutral arbitrator who acts like a judge, listening to evidence and arguments from both sides before making a binding decision.

  1. Selection of an Arbitrator: Parties agree on an arbitrator or use a pre-selected list.
  2. Evidence Presentation: Both sides present their case, and the arbitrator makes a decision.
  3. Binding Decision: The arbitrator’s decision is legally binding and enforceable.

Arbitration can be quicker and less costly than a full trial, making it an attractive option for some medical malpractice cases.


Advantages of ADR

  1. Cost-Effective: ADR processes are generally less expensive than traditional litigation, which can save you money on legal fees.
  2. Speed: ADR often resolves cases more quickly than court proceedings.
  3. Confidentiality: ADR proceedings are confidential, protecting the privacy and reputation of all parties involved.
  4. Control: You and your attorneys have more control over the outcome and the terms of the settlement than in a traditional trial.
  5. Preservation of Relationships: ADR can be less adversarial, making it easier to maintain a working relationship between doctors and patients.


It’s essential to consider the unique circumstances of each case before deciding on ADR. The medically trained attorneys at CHH have over a century of combined experience to best determine what the most beneficial method is for you. And if ADR is not the best option or doesn’t result in a satisfactory settlement, we’re skilled and experienced in trial law as well.

If something feels off about your medical injury, reach out today to start on the best path toward your best outcome.

Medical Malpractice


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At Cirignani Heller & Harman, LLP, we represent Illinois clients in Chicago and throughout Cook County, including the cities of Cicero, Elgin, Schaumburg, Oak Park, Maywood, Berwyn, Elmhurst, Evanston, Skokie, Des Plaines, Mount Prospect, Arlington Heights, Palatine and Hoffman Estates. We also help clients in DuPage County, Kane County, Lake County, McHenry County, Will County and Winnebago County. If you have been the victim of medical malpractice in Illinois, CHH Law is the law firm with attorneys that can help.

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