The Process Begins
The person hit by another driver usually begins the process. They want compensation for vehicle damage, personal injury, and pain and suffering. The process begins with them or their insurance company. A formal letter goes out to the other party or insurance company. First, the appropriate parties receive notifications that an arbitrator will resolve the case. Second, everyone involved has to agree on an arbitrator/panel of arbitrators. There can be one person or a panel of people. This mirrors a judge or jury. Once everyone has agreed on who the arbitrator will be, the arbitration process can begin.
Choosing The Arbitrator
Once you’ve chosen who the arbitrator(s) will be, you’ll set a date to meet with them. This date is your hearing date. You have until your hearing date to submit your evidence and any/all documents related to the car crash. You’ll want to provide ample proof that you deserve the compensation you’re requesting. If you don’t provide all the proof you have, the arbitrator might rule in the other party’s favor.
A review period follows after you submit all evidence and both parties have gathered. Both insurance companies (yours and the other driver’s) compare arguments. The case is sometimes resolved at this point. This can happen without the arbitrator making a decision for the parties. This happens for two-thirds of all arbitrations.
American Family Arbitration Clause
If you’ve been trying–but failing–to settle with the other party, welcome to the club. You’re joining ranks with millions of drivers. The good news is, it’s not as scary as it seems.
First, there are two different kinds of arbitration:
- Binding: You can’t argue against or appeal the arbitrator’s decision. It’s non-negotiable. If you like the decision they make, great. But if you don’t, you’re still stuck with it. Binding arbitration means you can’t sue the insurance company, either.
- Non-binding: Non-binding arbitration has a lot more room for saying no. Either party can decide that they dislike the arbitrator’s decision. If this is the case, you’ll most likely go to court.
Both types of arbitration have their pros and cons. Binding arbitration restricts both parties. But non-binding arbitration could be a waste of time if neither party agrees. Binding arbitration is a solution, a means to an end. Non-binding arbitration gives both parties more freedom. American Family Insurance requires all policyholders to agree to binding arbitration. This saves a lot of time, money, and hassle for American Family, and it keeps you out of court.
The second thing to consider is coverage for first-party auto insurance claims. There are three kinds.
When to Go to Arbitration
If you can’t seem to settle–or settle fairly, for that matter, we recommend arbitration. Perhaps your claims adjuster wants you to take a lower settlement than you deserve. It’s not fair. But it happens because American Family is primarily concerned with saving money. Sadly, this sometimes happens at the policy holder’s expense.
Arbitration Decision Rendered
Both sides present their case. Then the arbitrator(s) will review the information. Then they will make a decision. This process lasts anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. The whole process is very professional and impersonal. You’ll receive a letter with the decision. The letter will explain funds dispersal to each party, if any funds are awardable. It will also state if one party owes the other party.
American Family Arbitration for 3rd-Party Claims
You’re a third-party claimant if you file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company. Third parties are unique. American Family requires binding arbitration for its policyholders. But it doesn’t have the authority to require this from third parties. You can choose non-binding arbitration as a third-party claimant. If you don’t like the arbitrator’s decision, you can take the other party to court.
If you’re a third-party claimant, we recommend talking to an attorney before you make a decision. Arbitration could be perfect for you. But, sometimes, it’s better to go to court. An experienced attorney can tell you what your best option will be. Lawsuit Info Center has all the resources you’ll need to find the right attorney.
Why Opt for American Family Arbitration?
We recommend going through arbitration for the following reasons:
- Arbitration is more affordable than court. There aren’t as many legal fees, and you don’t need an attorney.
- Small claims limit what you can collect. Arbitration does not.
- Pain and suffering can be part of the arbitration agreements.
There are several advantages to arbitration with American Family Insurance.
- Arbitration takes weeks or months. Courtroom procedures can take years.
- The arbitrator will only make a decision after carefully reviewing both sides.
- The rules of evidence are more lax. You can submit all your evidence without it passing inspection first.
- You can more quickly expect your compensation.
What Happens During the American Family Arbitration Process?
Here’s an example of what you’ll go through. American Family Insurance will have an attorney at the arbitration to represent them. The CEO of the company can’t come to every arbitration. So they send an attorney.
It’s not complicated. You’ll have your opportunity to present facts. So will the opposing party. The arbitrator will review both sides and make a decision. There won’t be any surprises. You’ll take the following steps when it’s your turn to present.
- Opening Statement: Give your name. Describe the accident. State your claim and what you want from the arbitration.
- Case Presentations: Show your evidence. Convince the arbitrator of its importance. This is where you’ll want to include damages and injuries. Do everything you can to sway them (honestly, of course).
- Closing Statements: State why you should get the compensation you’re requesting. Explain why the other driver was at fault.
The arbitrator will make a decision quickly. It usually takes about two weeks. If you’re the third-party claimant, the arbitration will be non-binding. You can reject the arbitrator’s decision and take the other party to court. Remember that, for the first-party policy holder, the arbitration is binding. But if you take them to court, they’re forced to go with you.
Again, we recommend hiring an attorney to review your case. They’re experts in this area and can advise you on what to do. Most attorneys provide free consultations.
How Is American Family At Paying Auto Accident Claims?
American Family is below average. They pay an attorney to represent them instead of standing behind their policyholders. While we wish this wasn’t the case, it is. But, don’t feel bad. Most insurance companies operate this way. We recommend consulting with an attorney before you make a decision.
Talk to Your Attorney About the American Family Arbitration Process
Don’t let it surprise you if American Family acts without your consent. Have you been in an accident? Are you the first-party claimant? The case might resolve between insurance parties. They don’t have to tell you anything. But, if you’re the third-party claimant deciding what to do, get an attorney. Use the tools we have here at Lawsuit Info Center to find an attorney. You need expert advice for situations like this.