Learn why you might consider personal injury arbitration rather than litigation to settle a claim.
If you’ve been hurt in a personal injury accident, typically it is not in your best interests to go through the entire courtroom litigation process. Going to court can add years to the time it takes to resolve your case, when in all likelihood you need compensation ASAP. Plus, litigation will also increase your legal expenses.
Fortunately, there are ways to resolve personal injury claims out of court. One option is to have your personal injury attorney negotiate a settlement with the at-fault party’s insurance provider or attorney. However, this option only works if both sides can agree on a fair settlement. If no agreement can be reached, you may want to consider the other option for resolving personal injury claims out of court, namely arbitration.
How Arbitration Works
Arbitration can be used to resolve any kind of legal matter without putting it to a jury. Instead, the matter will be decided by an arbitrator or group of arbitrators. Like jurors, these individuals are neutral third parties who are expected to decide the case on its merits. Prior to entering arbitration, both parties will have to agree on important points like:
- Which issues will be arbitrated (liability, amount of damages, or both)
- What rules of evidence apply
- How evidence will be presented (paper only or live testimony)
- Whether there will be high and/or low limits on the award
Types of Arbitration
There are two main types of arbitration: binding and non-binding.
In a binding arbitration, the arbitrator’s decision is final. Both parties agree that they will accept it and that there will be no appeals. An award reached by binding arbitration is as enforceable as one determined by a court.
In non-binding arbitration, the parties are not looking for a final judgment, but basically just looking to test out the evidence in the case and see how it might turn out if they went on to binding arbitration or a trial later. In some cases, the parties may agree that the non-binding arbitration will become binding if, after a certain period of time, neither party requests more proceedings.
Is Arbitration Ever Mandatory?
Yes. Many contracts and agreements contain arbitration clauses that mandate that any disputes that arise will be settled through arbitration rather than litigation. You might sign such a document at your doctor’s office, when hiring a construction contractor, or as part of a waiver when participating in an adventure sport or other risky recreational activity.
Want to Learn More?
If you have questions about a potential personal injury claim, please do not hesitate to contact The Law Offices of Larry H. Parker at 800-333-0000. We handle all kinds of injuries and accidents and we will make sure your claim is handled in the forum that is most advantageous to you.