Geico Arbitration Process
No one ever wants to be in a car crash. And no one ever wants a damaged vehicle or bodily injuries. But car crashes happen. And when they happen, insurance companies step in. Arbitration is the process that Geico will take you through if you’ve been in a serious crash. That is, if you want reimbursement. Medical bills, lost income, injuries, and other damages will add up. You might imagine yourself standing before a judge. After all, how else will you get your reimbursement?
Arbitration is a method of alternative dispute resolution (ADR). The arbitration process completely avoids the courtroom. Instead of a judge or jury, you’ll have an arbitrator(s). Retired judges and attorneys often become arbitrators. So, you’ll have all the experience you’d get in the courtroom, but without all the hassle of the courtroom.
Lawsuits are very expensive. That’s why most insurance companies–including Geico–require you to go through arbitration instead. If you’re a first-party claimant, you’ll go through arbitration. Being a first-party claimant means that you were directly involved in the accident. In this case, Geico would be your insurance party as you handle the car accident. It’s different if you’re a third-party claimant, but we’ll get into that later.
Geico Arbitration Clause
When you open an auto policy with Geico, you’ll sign a contract agreeing to their terms. Their terms will dictate a settlement. A settlement happens when both insurance companies resolve the case. The process is smoother and faster than going to court. But if settlement fails, you’ll go through arbitration.
Let’s take a look at how arbitration works. There are two different kinds.
- Binding arbitration: Binding arbitration means that the arbitrator’s decision is binding. Whether or not you like their decision, you have to go with it. If you’re a first-party claimant, you’ll be bound by the arbitrator’s decision.
- Non-binding arbitration: Non-binding arbitration means that you can reject the arbitrator’s decision. If you’re a third-party claimant, this applies to you. You’ll go through the arbitration process with the other party’s insurance company. We’ll discuss what a third-party claimant is later.
There are other forms of non-binding arbitration. But for car accidents, all first-party claimants are bound to binding arbitration. This is true for Geico and most other insurance companies. But remember, you aren’t bound to arbitration with the other driver’s insurance company.
As part of your first-party insurance claim, you’ll likely have one of these coverages:
- Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage
- Medical payment coverage
- Underinsured or uninsured driver coverage
Like we mentioned before, you’ll go through settlement before arbitration. While settlement is preferrable, it doesn’t always happen. If you notice settlements stalling, prepare for arbitration. It can help you get what you’re entitled to. Since you can’t sue Geico, arbitration is the next best thing.
Just be careful throughout the whole process. You’re the one who was in an accident. And you’re entitled to your damages. But your claims adjuster might not show you the respect you deserve. It might be easier for them to get you to settle. But you don’t have to! Go to arbitration instead of taking a low settlement.
Geico Arbitration for 3rd-Party Claims
If Geico represents you, you’re a first-party claimant. But if Geico represents the other driver, you are a third-party claimant. As such, you are not subject to binding arbitration. You have the right to refuse the arbitrator’s decision and take the first-party claimant to court.
But before you rush to take the other party to court, remember that arbitration can be better. If you’re in the position where you need to decide, consult with an attorney. Lawsuit Info Center has the resources you need to find the right attorney. Browse through our website to get started.
Why Opt for Arbitration?
Geico arbitration offers the following advantages.
- Arbitration will save you money. You’ll have fewer legal fees, which means you’ll save more money. Plus,an attorney is optional. While you can hire one, you don’t have to.
- Unlike the courtroom, you can collect as much money as the arbitrator decides. There are no limits.
- You can request damages for your pain and suffering. It can be hard to convince a judge or jury to grant you pain and suffering damages. But an arbitrator will grant them if you’re convincing!
Geico arbitration offers four procedural advantages:
- Scheduling arbitration speeds up the process. Judges reschedule cases on their roster all the time. But arbitrators rarely cancel their arbitrations. If they do, it’s because of a scheduling conflict. It’s not done on a whim.
- You pick your arbitrator. This ensures that you aren’t blindsided. There won’t be conflict of interest or any other issues.
- The rules of evidence work differently in arbitration–in your favor. Restrictions are looser.
- You’ll collect your damages more quickly. The arbitrator decides when you’ll collect them and gives deadlines for when each party must pay. Judges and juries may also do this. But the whole process takes longer.
What Happens During the Arbitration Process?
You don’t have to bring an attorney with you to arbitration. But you have the option to. Just keep in mind that arbitration settings aren’t as formal as courtroom settings. Geico will hire an attorney to attend the arbitration. This is because they can’t attend every arbitration themselves. They would never sleep! But the attorney doesn’t provide Geico with any advantage. The attorney is simply there to represent them.
If you come prepared, you will be on equal ground with Geico’s attorney. If your case is simple, you might be fine on your own. But if your damages and injuries are severe, you might hire your own attorney. We recommend seeking legal counsel before you decide to represent yourself.
At your arbitration, you can expect…
- Opening statement: This is where you state the following: your name; the accident that took place; your claim; what you want from the hearing.
- Case presentations: This is where you show the arbitrator your evidence. You’ll do your best to convince the arbitrator that you deserve the damages you’re requesting.
- Closing statements: This is where you review your damages and why you deserve them. You’ll pinpoint why the other driver was responsible.
A third-party claimant might file an appeal. But this is unlikely. This is another situation where you would want to consult an attorney. Lawsuit Info Center is here to help if you need an attorney.
How Is Geico At Paying Auto Accident Claims?
Honestly, it depends on who you talk to. Most insurance companies, including Geico, pay the minimum amount they can. Insurance companies are all about saving money. They spend what they need to on the attorney and then pay as few damages as possible. Fair settlements are too expensive. It’s not right, but it’s business. Because of this, you might be better off with a personal injury attorney negotiating your settlement.
Get Legal Help With the Geico Arbitration Process
When using Geico arbitration, a skilled lawyer matters. A lawyer will increase your chances of getting a fair settlement. Remember, Lawsuit Info Center is here to help. You can find the right attorney for you on our website. Use our site to find a licensed attorney near you today. If you’re going through the arbitration process with another insurance company, we can help with that, too. Check out our list of insurance companies and their arbitration processes.