Is Arbitration Right For Your Personal Injury Case?

Posted on: 19 April 2017

In a personal injury case, there are several routes you and the insurance company can take to reach a settlement. One option is to let an arbitrator decide how the case should be decided. If you are thinking of agreeing to arbitration, here is what you need to know.  

Is Arbitration Similar to Mediation?

One of the misconceptions about arbitration is that it is similar to mediation. In reality, the only similarity between mediation and arbitration is that the case is heard by a paid professional, such as an arbitrator or mediator, and not a judge. In mediation, there is a process of negotiation. In arbitration, both sides present their cases, and the arbitrator will decide the outcome of the case.  

Another important difference between arbitration and mediation is what happens after a decision is made. In mediation, if you do not agree with the results, you can still take your case to court or continue to negotiate with the insurance company.  

In arbitration, the results are final. You cannot appeal them in court. Even if you do not believe the decision is fair, there is very little possibility that a court would agree to overturn the decision. 

What Can You Do to Prove Your Case?

In arbitration, you have the same rights to present evidence as you would if you were in a courtroom. You can provide the arbitrator with pictures of your injuries and any other damages you experienced. You can also include copies of medical bills, evidence of lost wages, and any other proof that shows the extent of the damage you were caused.  

In addition to providing physical copies of evidence, you can call on witnesses to testify. It is important to note that the insurance company can do the same. Any witnesses that are presented can be cross-examined by both parties.  

Before arbitration, you and your attorney need to meet with the witnesses you plan to use to review their testimonies. Although you cannot ask them to change their testimony, your attorney can ensure they are aware that the truth is required and not guesses. The attorney can also prepare them for handling a cross examination, which can be a difficult experience.  

If you are unsure about whether or not arbitration is right for your case or if you need help with preparing, consult with a personal injury attorney at a law firm like Hardee and Hardee LLP. He or she can advise you of the best method possible for getting the settlement that you deserve.