Will Your Personal Injury Case Be Arbitrated?

If you are suing the defendant in a personal injury lawsuit, your lawyer may tell you that the arbitration process is not on your side. Since he or she won’t exactly be wrong, you need to understand what the arbitration process entails.

Your personal injury claim or case can either be solved in or out of court. If it’s solved out of court, your personal injury lawyer may mention the term alternative dispute resolution (ADR). This is a process by which civil and personal injury cases are solved out of court. This can be done in a variety of ways like mediation and arbitration. Since you need to understand the types of cases that are arbitrated and why you want to avoid it if at all possible, read the rest of this article.

How does the arbitration process work for a personal injury claim?

Your personal injury lawyer in Sydney will tell you that you don’t want your case to be arbitrated because the decision is final. You can never appeal it. If your case is arbitrated, it will either be heard by an arbitrator or by a group of three arbitrators. The rules are generally simple and very flexible. Your case will go through a pre-hearing investigation which is to the arbitration process what the discovery period is to regular court cases.

Both you and the defense will be asked to give testimony as will any witnesses/eyewitnesses. Your personal injury lawyer will tell you that arbitration is not the best avenue for you because you have very few options for an appeal if you lose your case. He or she will inform you that the only way you can really appeal a decision in an arbitration case is by proving that it (the decision) was wrong because it was largely based on faulty and misapplied evidence.

Basically, when you mediate your personal injury case, you have all pertinent parties meet with a neutral third party (the mediator) to try to reach an agreement and an acceptable settlement amount. Because it’s voluntary, the final decision can be appealed. The mediator can be someone with a good understanding of and background in personal injury law. The person can also be a court-appointed magistrate or a judge.

Because its voluntary, mediation is an informal procedure. Your personal injury lawyer will draft a written mediation summary and present it to the mediator. This will be your side of the personal injury accident. Your lawyer will present the summary to the mediator. Since you don’t give testimony during this process, you won’t be calling any witnesses or eyewitnesses to the stand. You, your lawyer, the defendant, and his or her lawyer will go to separate rooms. The mediator will talk to all of you while making his or her final decision. The case will go to court if the mediator is not able to reach a decision.

Cases that are arbitrated

Most cases are either settled in or out of court. The ADR system is rarely used to reach an agreement and/or settlement amount. Cases that can be arbitrated are certain car accident ones. This is especially the case if the defendant either doesn’t have insurance or doesn’t have enough of it.

To arbitrate or to not arbitrate, that’s the question?

Well, you probably shouldn’t arbitrate if you’re the plaintiff. The reasons are many. One is because you can’t appeal your case if the arbitrator makes a decision in favor of the defendant. Another reason is that arbitrators make their decision solely based on personal injury law, the evidence, and the facts. Juries are made up of regular people and will listen to your emotions. Unless you have a lot of bodily injuries and/or property damage, you probably won’t win with the ADR system.You need to hire a personal injury lawyer if your case goes the way of ADR, because ADR tends to be defendant friendly.

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