What to Know About Arbitration of a Car Crash Claim

two people sitting across from each other at tableMany car accident claims are resolved by settling with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. However, some claims go to arbitration, which is a form of alternative dispute resolution. In some cases, arbitration is mandatory, even if the final decision of the arbitrator is non-binding.

There are advantages to arbitration for crash victims. Below, our licensed attorneys discuss arbitration, explaining what crash victims need to know. If you have questions, we are here to answer them in a free consultation. We are here to help, so there is no obligation to retain our firm for your claim.

When Your Claim Might Go to Arbitration

Arbitration often happens when the insurance company makes a lowball offer and refuses to negotiate. It may also be used following active negotiations where the insurance company will not make an offer either the lawyer or victim is willing to accept. Sometimes insurance policies have clauses that mandate arbitration when a dispute cannot be settled.

If your lawyer files a lawsuit, and the case is valued at $50,000 or less, Arizona law requires you to go to arbitration. That said, this requirement may be waived if both sides present a valid reason for having the case heard by a jury.

Injury victims can also tell the insurance company they would prefer to go to arbitration. If the insurance company says no, you can file a Certificate of Compulsory Arbitration with the Complaint.

What Happens at Arbitration?

Whether both parties agree to arbitration or it is mandated by law, the first step is appointing an arbitrator. When an arbitrator has been selected, both parties will be notified of his or her identity, as well as the date, time and place of the arbitration hearing. Notice of the hearing must be given within 120 days of the arbitrator being appointed.

The hearing is much faster than a jury trial. Both sides present their case to the arbitrator, which includes making an opening statement, calling witnesses, presenting evidence, cross examining the other side’s witnesses, and making closing remarks.

After the arbitrator hears both sides, he or she decides how to resolve the dispute. The hearing is probably going to be a couple of hours at the most.

The party that wins arbitration must submit the amount of the award and a statement showing the costs to the arbitrator within 10 days of reaching a decision. The losing party has the option of filing an appeal within 20 days of an award being entered.

If an appeal is filed, a trial date will be set. However, both sides may be required to attend another form of Alternative Dispute Resolution before going to trial.

What Are the Advantages of Arbitration for Resolving a Claim?

There are several advantages of arbitration compared to going through a trial. For one, arbitration is often much less expensive than a lawsuit. Another advantage is you can pursue pain and suffering when making your compensation demand.

Other advantages of arbitration include:

  • Receiving compensation quickly, often within a matter of weeks
  • More relaxed rules of evidence than a courtroom
  • You can schedule arbitration much sooner than a court case
  • You do not have the monetary limits of small claims court
  • You may get a say in picking the arbitrator

Deciding When to Use Arbitration

It is best to seek legal advice about arbitration from an experienced Phoenix-based auto accident attorney. He or she can review your situation to determine if arbitration might be a good option for your case.

Your attorney can present your case at arbitration, just like in a courtroom. Make sure to seek out an experienced attorney who has managed cases like yours and has a record of success. Sometimes the results of arbitration are binding. Regardless, you want to make sure you have an attorney who you feel confident can present a strong case.

While there are many important decisions crash victims need to make, your choice of an attorney is one of the most important as you look to secure your future.

Injured in a Crash and Need Help With Your Claim? Call Today

At Phillips Law Group, we are dedicated to protecting your best interests from minute one. We also know this is a difficult time for you, which is why our services are provided on contingency. There is no upfront fee and our lawyers do not get paid unless you get paid.

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Give us a call today to learn more. Ph: 602-222-2222