How Does Arbitration Work in an Accident Claim?
After a crash, victims often seek compensation for their damages in claims against the at-fault party’s insurance company. Although most injury cases are resolved through settlements negotiated out of court, the legal process takes time. Some victims may not want to wait months or years for their case to settle. Could pursuing an alternative dispute resolution like arbitration sometimes be a good option? High Stakes Injury Law take a closer look at arbitration, both the advantages and disadvantages and how it works in an accident claim. If you have been injured by another driver’s negligence, you may be eligible to recover compensation for damages. After filing a claim, the liable insurance company may try to recommend you resolve your claim through arbitration. However, before considering any type of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), we strongly recommend discussing all your legal options with a licensed attorney first. Our experienced auto accident attorneys in Las Vegas are prepared to help you seek maximum compensation for your lost wages, medical costs and other losses.
What is Arbitration and How Does it Work in a Car Crash Claim?Arbitration is an informal legal process that is different from either a settlement negotiation or a jury trial in a courtroom. One person, or a team of individuals, are appointed to be neutral third parties. The appointed arbitrator hears from both parties, weighs on all factors presented and makes a decision. There is no courtroom, judge or jury to preside over arbitration, so the process feels more relaxed.
Choosing the ArbitratorBoth parties have a say in selecting the arbitrator. That said, arbitrators are often recommended for their legal experience, such as a retired judge or lawyer.
Opening StatementsAfter an arbitrator is selected, each side is given an opportunity to make an opening statement describing their claim and the outcome they are seeking. For instance, the injured party could state a settlement amount they are seeking for the damages.
Presenting Evidence for the CaseEach side must also present evidence that supports their claim. This could include, for example, medical invoices, repair costs for a vehicle and more.
The Decision is MadeAfter the arbitrator hears both sides of the case and all evidence is presented, he or she will consider the case as a whole and decide the outcome.
Is an Arbitration Decision Final?That depends. Prior to beginning the arbitration process, both parties have the opportunity to agree on whether the outcome will be binding or non-binding. With non-binding arbitration, either or both sides can request to decline the decision and move immediately into settlement negotiations. If arbitration is binding, however, the decision is final. Typically, it is very difficult to appeal a decision from binding arbitration.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Using ArbitrationUsing arbitration to resolve a car crash claim has advantages and disadvantages. The pros of resolving a case through arbitration include:
- Your case can be resolved much quicker so you can get the money you need faster
- The cost is much less than if you must pursue your case in a trial
- It is a more relaxed legal process, so it is easier and less stressful to present your case
- A professional, who may or may not be biased, decides your case instead of a jury
- You do not get the opportunity to be heard in court
- The arbitrator does not get the opportunity to directly listen to and assess witnesses
- The discovery process is limited to keep the costs low
- If the decision is binding, there is little opportunity to appeal it