There are times when personal injury attorneys and the at-fault party’s insurance company cannot agree on the settlement of a claim. Rather than go to court, which can be very time-consuming and expensive, both parties can agree to arbitrate a case.
In this article we discuss what arbitration is and how it can help some personal injury claims get resolved.
What is arbitration?
Arbitration is a legal alternative to filing a lawsuit and going to court, giving both parties, the plaintiff and defendant, an opportunity to settle a claim. It is a hearing that is usually conducted by one or more agreed-upon arbitrators who are usually members of the legal profession. During arbitration, as in a trial, evidence is presented, arguments are made, and witnesses are called. When all of that is completed, the arbitrator(s) delivers a decision within a specified period of time.
Arbitrators have similar discovery powers to a judge during and after a trial. They can review the needs of both parties, determine the outcome of the arbitration, and even award punitive damages.
What are the different types of arbitration?
There are three types of arbitration – advisory, binding, and non-binding.
Advisory Arbitration: Advisory Arbitration is held to give both sides an idea of what will happen if the case goes to trial, or help them decide whether to agree in the future to a binding arbitration. This can be helpful in seeing the strengths and weaknesses of a case and how and if a future settlement may be reached.
Binding Arbitration: Binding arbitration is very similar to going to court and having a trial. Both parties agree to abide by the final rulings of the arbitrator(s). The parties usually involved in binding arbitration are the client, represented by his or her personal injury attorney, and the insurance company representing the person or company who caused the personal injury accident.
Non-Binding Arbitration: Non-binding arbitration is advisory in nature unless or until it becomes binding. This type of arbitration may become binding with a passage of time if neither party requests further proceedings.
Why is arbitration useful?
Arbitration is very much like a trial, except it is faster and much cheaper. It is less formal, and less demanding regarding rules, evidentiary matters and procedures. Another benefit is that the proceedings are not usually part of the public records and the details can be kept confidential.
Many personal injury law practices may agree to use the method of arbitration when both parties agree that there was negligence on the part of the defendant but the parties can’t agree on the monetary value of a settlement.
Should a victim consider arbitration in a personal injury claim?
Arbitration is a good solution for some personal injury cases, but not all. A victim must determine whether arbitration is in his or her best interests. To understand all of the pros and cons in such a circumstance, as well as the laws involved, consulting a personal injury attorney is highly recommended.
If you ever find yourself in a situation as described in this article, please give us a call so we can answer any questions you many have. Alexander & Associates has a long record of representing clients in such circumstances. Our personal injury consultations are always free.
The content of this blog was prepared by Alexander & Associates Attorneys at Law for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to solicit business or provide legal advice. Laws differ by jurisdiction, and the information in this blog may not apply to you. You should seek the assistance of an attorney licensed to practice in your state before taking any action. Using this blog site does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Alexander & Associates Attorneys at Law. Client relationships can only be created by written contract.