Settle or Litigate Business Disputes

If you’re ever involved in a business dispute, you have a variety of options to settle it.

You don’t always have to sue if you’re involved in a business dispute. However, it is one of the options available if other things don’t work out. Ideally, in a perfect world, the difference of opinion would be resolved amicably and through negotiations. Having said that, sometimes things just don’t go the way you want them to go.

Generally speaking business owners have four different avenues to handle customer, vendor or partner disputes. They each have a different price tag, so it pays to have a working knowledge of them. The four avenues are direct negotiation, mediation, arbitration and litigation.

In terms of saving money, direct negotiation is often the least expensive method to use. This isn’t to say that it’s the easiest, but it is a good place to start. During this process both parties need to make it really clear what they want, why they want it and what will happen to future relations between the them. It goes without saying that both sides in direct negotiations need to look, listen, ask questions and pay sharp attention to the discussions. In other words, make use of good communication and planning skills during the negotiations. If everything holds together, the outcome should be an agreement that works for everyone. It beats the alternative, which may be an all out war.

Mediating is another good solution and only addresses how to fix the problem at hand. Meeting with a neutral third party that acts as a facilitator is often a smart business move. Understand that the mediator doesn’t make decisions but helps both sides come to a solution that works. Anything said in the presence of a mediator and all related documents are not admissible in court, so if mediation doesn’t work out, there are a couple of other routes left to try.

Another route to settle disputes is handing the whole thing over to a neutral arbitrator. In this instance, the arbitrator does make a binding decision based on the facts of the situation. Because arbitration is in essence a fact finding venture, it does take more time and money than mediation, but still doesn’t take as long as litigation.

The last resort is litigation and this involves letting a judge decide which party wins based on the facts of the case and the law. The court would make a determination of who is right and who is wrong. This is applicable “if” the case gets that far, as many of them don’t and wind up being settled out of court. This usually happens if one party doesn’t want to run the risk of losing in court. Frankly, there are a couple of cons to actually litigating a business matter: the negative effect it has on future relations and the cost, time and stress. However, if you have exhausted all other efforts, this may be a viable option for you to pursue.

Michael G. Smith is a Little Rock injury lawyer and Little Rock accident lawyer, practicing personal injury law in Little Rock Arkansas. To learn more about Little Rock injury lawyer, Little Rock accident lawyer, Little Rock person injury lawyer, Little Rock malpractice lawyer, Little Rock injury attorney, Little Rock wrongful death attorney, visit