If you're looking for a contract dispute lawyer, there's a good chance you also want to know what your options might be for resolving the situation. There are many ways a dispute might land, so it's a good idea to examine four of the most common.
Negotiation and Settlement
The parties to a dispute may be able to review the contract, establish what their concerns are, and sort things out among themselves. Sometimes you just need to hear what the precise complaint is, and then you can arrive at a settlement.
If the two sides can't get to an answer on their own, especially within a reasonable amount of time, the next answer may be mediation. This is usually a non-binding process where a third party who is familiar with contract dispute law tries to find common ground between the two parties. A mediator may be able to help you move past the small problems in a dispute and drill down to a handful of big items. From there, a settlement might be reachable.
Although the process may sound similar to mediation, arbitration is generally seen as a bit more aggressive. The arbitration process may be binding or not. Also, many contracts require binding arbitration, and it might take a contract dispute lawyer some effort to try to avoid arbitration under these circumstances.
In arbitration, a third party will study what happened and enter an opinion regarding what occurred. If the two sides accept the findings, the arbitrator's solution will hold sway. When the two sides don't accept the outcome, presuming it's not a binding one, the arbitrator's opinion goes into the record in case the dispute goes to court.
The most aggressive solution is for one side to sue. Notably, if there is an arbitration or mediation clause in the contract, the suing side will have to prove they've abided by the terms. Likewise, they'll have to show the judge that they've exhausted all remedies within the arbitration or mediation process.
A settlement is still possible during a lawsuit. However, without a settlement or an order from a judge, the case will eventually go to a hearing. If the case seems one-sided, a judge may order the two sides to accept an outcome.
As long as one side can show there are unresolved questions of fact or contract dispute law, the judge will order a trial. The trial will produce a judgment regarding whatever is in question, and the two sides will have to abide by the finding or find a legal argument for appeal.
For more information, reach out to a local contract dispute lawyer.