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RESOLVING YOUR PERSONAL INJURY CLAIM THROUGH BINDING ARBITRATION

Published on Nov 30, 2009 at 2:09 pm in General Blogs.

The use of “binding arbitration” can be a useful way to resolve a personal injury case for accident victims. Often times, liability (who is at fault) is not at issue in a case, but the amount of compensation for the injures suffered by the victim cannot be agreed upon. The usual course of action in such a case is to file a lawsuit and let a jury decide the amount of damages to award. This method can be time consuming and expensive, depending on the case. An alternative to having a jury trial is to submit the case to binding arbitration. The arbitrator, which is selected and agreed to by the parties, is often an experienced retired judge in the same county or jurisdiction as the court where the case would be tried. The arbitrator has extensive experience in the type of case presented to him or her, and understands the issues presented and the value of the claim. Many times, the parties agree upon a “high-low” amount. This means that no matter what amount of money the arbitrator awards, the actual amount paid by the defenant cannot be lower or higher than the preset amounts. For example, imagine the “high” amount agreed to is $100,000.00 and the “low” is $20,000.00. After hearing the evidence presented in the case, the arbitrator awards $125,000.00. Because the parties agreed that the high amount was $100,000.00, the most the defendant will pay is the $100,000.00. On the other end of the spectrum, if the arbitrator awarded nothing, the plaintiff would still get $20,000.00. The parties agree prior to arbitration that whatever the decision of the arbitrator is, it is the final decision and no appeal can be taken. The arbitration process is generally quicker and more streamlined, and costs can be contained more easily than if the case went to trial. The advantages for plaintiffs include resolving the case quickly and ensuring that no matter what the decision, he or she will not walk away with nothing.

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