Most civil lawsuits settle before trial. Statistics compiled by the judicial system show that only around 3% of all civil cases are tried before a jury or judge. The rest settle though the Alternative Dispute Resolution Process.

The judicial system encourages settlement and employs several means of ensuring that the parties to each lawsuit (the plaintiff and the defendants) consider seriously the risks of proceeding to trial. Most courts order the parties to participate in mediation or arbitration.

In the mediation process, an experienced attorney or former judge will make an effort to get each side to settle the claims for a reasonable value. If the plaintiff, defendant and insurance company reach a similar perspective toward the value of the case and the risks of going to trial, the case can generally settle at mediation. The mediator makes settlement recommendations but does not have the authority to order the parties to settle.