The Long and Winding Road to a Settlement

by : Atty. Gabriel Cosh

It is abundant in our society correct, and despite having all the possible ways of avoiding such occurrence still being inevitable it could not actually be avoided. Accidents happening on the highways, or any place of transport for that matter, have been so rampant. In fact our courts of law have been clogged with so many claims involving vehicle accidents that our bench has made it a point that before these cases would be elevated to them, all efforts to settle the same must first be exhausted.

There are several modes of settling a claim for negligence resulting to physical disability or damage to property. This may include but is not limited to, mediation, arbitration, settlement, or the ordinary bargain. These modes are all extra-judicial, meaning that they are means of finding a solution to erring claims without resort to our courts of law. These has been viewed in a positive light by magistrates, the fact that finding a common ground and answering a dispute without any taxing and rigorous court battle has been the lineage for the past decade or so.

Extra-judicial modes of settling disputes have several advantages, it actually prevents the further severance of the relationship of the parties because a bargain has been arrived at peacefully. Another is that it saves money on the part of the antagonists in the dispute particularly in going through the tedious process of filing causes of action in our courts. It is also a testimony of the rational being of man, that disputes or controversies may be resolved without adversarial proceedings in our courts of law. Finally, it would save precious time and effort for our judges, that would be utilized to ponder on more pressing issues and more complex cases.

A long and winding road indeed, but at the end of the day when everything has fallen into their own proper places and a settlement has been arrived at, at least it was not an effort in futility. The parties having learned their lessons from such occurrence, proper restitution has been made, a chance to change has been given another, and a day in court has been saved, these are merely some benefits that an extra-judicial settlement may provide. As the old proverb goes, clearer minds prevail and adversarial court proceedings are no longer warranted for such types of claim. Peace of mind, clarity of senses, and repentance for a wrong done, are the principles upon which extra-judicial settlements are actually based.