The Forensic Engineer and  Alternative Dispute Resolution

Article Author: Geoffrey G. Jillson, P.E. (NAFE 429S)

Volume: 30
Volume #: 1
Month: June
Year: 2013

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The use of “Alternative Dispute Resolution” (ADR) for settlement of cases is proliferating. The process is mandated by the courts in many civil matters to provide a “speedy, efficient and cost effective” way to settle cases. The common forms or processes of ADR are arbitration, mediation and appraisal. “Arbitration” is often specified in construction and real estate contracts and is binding. Non-binding “mediation” is employed to negotiate settlements in civil matters usually among lawyers, but expert reports can be provided and experts may be called to testify. The “appraisal” process is incorporated in most property insurance contracts with minimal guidance on process. In some jurisdictions there are few or no rules governing the actual process beyond selection of appraisers and neutral umpires and little case law defining specific rules and limitations. The Forensic Engineer can participate in the traditional role as expert witness in more formalized settings, or may act as an appraiser or neutral umpire in settings ranging from informal discussions in the field to courtroom settings. This paper is intended provide some exposure to the processes and give insight into some potential problem areas and preparation.


Alternative, dispute, resolution, arbitration, mediation, appraisal