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What is arbitration, and when should it be utilized?

Updated: Sep 18, 2020

Most people hear the legal term "arbitration" and think its a bad thing. While that could be the case in certain disputes (mostly contract disputes), it is not necessarily a bad thing in personal injury cases. Arbitration is a means of alternative dispute resolution. At an arbitration in a personal injury matter, you case goes before a neutral, impartial third-party, the arbitrator. The arbitrator is usually a retired judge, and has knowledge and experience in accident cases. At the arbitration, both sides would present an abbreviated version of their case, highlighting their strongest points. The arbitrator would then decide if the defendant was at fault for the accident, and if so, how much compensation the plaintiff should receive. The two main benefits of arbitration, is its speed, and cost-effectiveness. A case can go to arbitration at any point, but it usually happens much early then a case would be ready for a trial. Once an arbitration is held, the arbitrator renders a decision within 30 days. Also, it is extremely cost-effective. At a trial, both the plaintiff and the defendant would have to pay for experts to testify (doctors, economists, engineers, etc), who could charge as much as $5,000-10,000 for one day of testimony. There are no experts at an arbitration, hence saving that cost. Arbitration can help put more money into your pocket, quicker.

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