If your auto accident claim is going to arbitration, you may wonder why your case isn’t being settled traditionally. Going into arbitration means both parties want to resolve matters without a drawn-out courtroom battle. From insurance policy provisions to time constraints, various factors can contribute to the decision to resolve your case in this way.
Insurance companies may opt for arbitration when negligence and liability are disputed and unclear, as might occur when there are no witnesses and the evidence is weak. An Atlanta car accident lawyer can help you decide whether arbitration is in your best interests.
What does “Going to Arbitration” Mean?
If the auto insurance company representing the at-fault party refuses to offer a fair settlement during negotiations with your attorney, arbitration is a way to resolve your case without going to court.
During the proceedings, the arbitrator will listen to each side’s presentations and decide the case’s outcome. The arbitrator’s role is not to help the parties agree but rather to carefully evaluate the arguments and evidence and make an impartial settlement decision.
Arbitrators should not have a vested interest in the outcome of the case. Your lawyer will ensure that the arbitrator remains neutral, devoid of any biases toward the defendant or defense positions in general.
What Is the Purpose of Arbitration?
Arbitration serves as an alternative dispute resolution method aimed at conserving time, money, and judicial resources. With this process, private parties participate in discussions with an arbitrator, who is usually a former judge or lawyer well-versed in weighing evidence.
Arbitration can be binding or non-binding, depending on the specifics of the case. In binding arbitration, the arbitrator has the authority to render a legally binding final judgment on the case, which cannot be appealed.
On the other hand, non-binding arbitration doesn’t obligate the parties to follow the arbitrator’s decision. Your attorney can explain which type of arbitration will be used.
How does an Attorney Prepare for an Arbitration Proceeding?
While arbitration is less formal than a trial, the steps involved are similar. Your car accident attorney will craft an opening statement, summon witnesses, present evidence, and enlist experts if necessary. Typically, the proceedings unfold over a few hours.
Before the session, your attorney will discuss your testimony to make sure you are ready. Providing your attorney with all of the evidence and information you have will help them construct a compelling argument.
Will Arbitration Reduce My Settlement?
Choosing arbitration does not necessarily affect your claim’s potential value. Many cases resolved outside the courtroom result in large settlements. However, in some situations, an insurance company could use arbitration to try to deny or devalue your claim.
With the help of an experienced attorney, you can decide which case resolution method will maximize your compensation, given your unique circumstances.
How does the Arbitrator Make Their Decision?
The arbitrator will review the evidence and pose inquiries to the involved parties regarding various facets of the auto accident case.
Some of the questions an arbitrator might raise include:
- Should the victim be awarded financial compensation?
- How much compensation is appropriate?
- Did the victim sustain severe bodily injuries?
- Did the victim escape injury altogether?
- Which party bears responsibility for the accident?
Arbitrators typically boast a track record of meticulously reviewing cases. In most instances, both parties mutually agree on the arbitrator before proceedings begin and agree to follow the arbitrator’s decision.
What Are the Advantages of Arbitration in an Auto Accident Case?
Arbitration presents numerous advantages over the trial process. First and foremost, arbitration is often a more cost-effective alternative than pursuing a civil lawsuit. And like with a lawsuit, accident victims can demand compensation for pain and suffering.
Further advantages of arbitration include:
- Faster compensation
- Less stringent rules of evidence compared to a courtroom setting
- The ability to schedule proceedings sooner than would be possible in a traditional jury trial
- Absence of the financial limits of small claims court
It’s no surprise that arbitration is becoming an increasingly common method for resolving disputes.
Is Arbitration Ever Mandatory?
The requirement for arbitration depends on various factors, such as your state of residence and the stipulations within the at-fault party’s insurance policy agreement.
If you are in Georgia, your car accident claim will only proceed to arbitration if both your legal representation and the insurance company reach an agreement. If either side does not agree to arbitration or mediation, the case is likely to proceed to court.
Consult With an Experienced Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been injured in a Georgia collision, our Atlanta car accident lawyers are here to help. Don’t go into the arbitration process without knowing whether it will benefit your case! Allow us to be your advocates, fighting for your rights through every stage of your claim.
Schedule a free consultation today to discuss your auto accident. Your journey toward fair compensation begins with this initial conversation, where we can talk about arbitration and other legal options.
Contact us today for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.