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Common Forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution for Personal Injury Claims

Common Forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution for Personal Injury Claims

Not all personal injury claims make it to court. In fact, most them don’t. The litigation process is stressful, time-consuming, and expensive for claimants and defendants alike, which is why both parties usually opt for alternative dispute resolution.

Alternative dispute resolution, or ADR, is the procedure for settling disputes outside of the court system. The three most common types of ADR are negotiation, mediation, and arbitration. In this article, the personal injury attorneys at Stewart Law Offices, LLC will tell you everything you need to know about these three forms of alternative dispute resolution.

Negotiation is the most informal type of alternative dispute resolution, and is almost always attempted first. Negotiation involves the two sides meeting together and trying to reach a settlement without the help of a third party. This allows the parties themselves to control the process and reach a solution.

During mediation, both parties agree to meet with a mediator, who has no interest in the outcome of the case. The mediator’s job is simple: to act as a mutual third party and attempt to bring both sides together in order to reach an agreement. Many times, the mediator is another lawyer who can look at the facts and shed light on the strengths and weaknesses of both cases. Mediation is usually non-binding, meaning it is up to the two parties to reach a compromise.

Like mediation, arbitration involves both sides meeting with a neutral third party. Unlike a mediator, the arbitrator does have the power to render a judgement. Arbitrations can be held before a single arbitrator, or a panel of three. The arbitrator(s) will listen to both parties present their evidence and testimonies before making a decision that both parties must adhere to, whether they like it or not. In this sense, arbitration can best be described as an “informal” trial.

Even though alternative dispute resolution doesn’t involve the motions of a court trial, it is still a good idea to seek professional legal representation. If you live in North Carolina or South Carolina, trust the attorneys at Stewart Law Offices, LLC to handle your personal injury claim. Whether through litigation, mediation, arbitration, or negotiation, we will help you secure the compensation you are entitled to.

Ready to speak with one of our personal injury lawyers? Contact us online to get started with a free case evaluation, or call (888) 286-5600.

Dog Bite Safety: Stats, Facts, and Tips

Dog Bite Safety: Stats, Facts, and Tips

Dogs are a man’s best friend, so they say. While the majority of dogs are friendly and harmless, any canine – regardless of breed, size, age, or gender – is capable of biting if provoked. Read below to learn more about dog bites and what you can do to prevent them…

Dog Bites by the Numbers
Just how much of a problem are dog bites? Check out these facts and figures from the American Veterinary Medical Association:

  • 36.5% of American homes have at least one dog.
  • Each year, approximately 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs.
  • Almost one in five dog bites (800,000 per year) require medical attention.
  • Children are the most common victims of dog bites, accounting for nearly half of all incidents.
  • Dog bites account for one-third of all homeowners’ liability insurance claims, costing nearly $570 million.
  • The average payment by insurers for dog bite claims is over $37,000.

Why Do Dogs Bite?
Dogs can bite for several reasons, including:

  • Fear. It is important to be conscious of your actions and how they affect nearby dogs.
  • Protection. They could see you as a threat to their owner, puppies, or even their favorite toy.
  • Sickness. When dogs are sick or in pain, they may become overly aggressive.
  • Redirected Aggression. Don’t put yourself in harm’s way by interacting with a pup who is already riled up. A classic example of this is attempting to break up a dog fight.
  • Poor Training. It’s possible that a dog may simply bite because it is poorly trained.

How to Prevent Dog Bites
Nearly all dog bites are preventable. Here are a few safety tips to keep in mind the next time you are around a dog:

  • Avoid aggressive games, such as tug of war.
  • Keep your distance. Don’t immediately approach a dog you are not familiar with.
  • Spay or neuter your dog. Fixed dogs are three times less likely to attack.
  • Avoid making eye contact, which can make a dog feel intimidated and scared.
  • Don’t disturb dogs that are eating, sleeping, nursing, or playing.
  • Know the signs that a dog is about to bite. These include a tensed body, stiff tail, pulled back ears, a furrowed brow, and exposed teeth.

What to Do If You Are Bitten By a Dog
It is important to take proper care of your dog bite so that it does not become infected. If you are bitten by a dog, follow these steps:

  • Immediately wash the wound thoroughly with soap and warm water.
  • Gently dry the wound with a clean towel and apply a bandage.
  • Report the bite to your local animal control agency.
  • If the injury is serious, contact your physician for additional care.
  • If your wound is severe enough to warrant medical attention, consider contacting a personal injury lawyer to recover compensation for your damages.

If you have been the victim of a dog attack in North Carolina or South Carolina, the personal injury attorneys at Stewart Law Offices, LLC are ready to represent you. Contact us online to get started with a free case evaluation, or call (888) 286-5600.

Icy Slip and Falls: Who is Liable?

Icy Slip and Falls: Who is Liable?

It’s not everyday that temperatures dip below freezing in the Carolinas, but when they do, icy sidewalks can present a hazard for pedestrians. According to the Center for Disease Control, about one million Americans are injured from slip and fall accidents every year. The rate of these accidents skyrockets as the temperatures drop due to an increase in icy surfaces.

Slip and falls can lead to muscle strains, ligament sprains, bone fractures, herniated discs, and more. If you have been injured in an icy slip and fall, you may be wondering who is liable. The personal injury attorneys at Stewart Law Offices, LLC are here to answer your question…

Who is liable in a slip and fall accident?
Just because you slip and fall on someone else’s property, it does not automatically make them liable for your injuries. The burden of proof is on you to show that the property owner was negligent, or failed to provide reasonable care in the situation. Here are a few important notes to keep in mind:


  • The “Natural Accumulation” Rule: Many states have a “natural accumulation” rule, which relieves property owners of liability in most cases of natural accumulation. This means as long as the property owner doesn’t interfere with or alter the accumulation of ice, they are generally not viewed as responsible. An example of this would be water dripping from the edge of a roof then refreezing on the ground due to clogged gutters, which adds to the accumulation of ice.


  • Inadequate Outdoor Lighting: Poor outdoor lighting is an example of a circumstance in which the property owner could be held liable for your slip and fall. Inadequate lighting could be viewed as a negligent action which caused you to miss a step or not see a patch of ice, directly leading to your injury.


  • Uneven Surfaces: Commercial property owners are generally responsible for maintaining their parking lots. This includes filling all gaps, cracks, and potholes. In addition, changes in height should be gradual, not abrupt. Failing to maintain a parking lot could lead to a slip and fall, and could be viewed as negligence in some states.


Has someone else’s negligence has caused you injury? Whether from a slip and fall, car accident, or otherwise, you have the right to seek compensation for your damages. If you live in North Carolina or South Carolina, the personal injury attorneys at Stewart Law Offices, LLC are ready to represent you. Contact us online to get started with a free case evaluation, or call (888) 286-5600.