Starting the Process
Either you or your insurance company will start the arbitration process. It formally begins with a letter. The letter states that you’re initiating the arbitration process. The letter makes it clear that you want to resolve the claim.
The first step you’ll need to take is finding the arbitrator. You (or your insurance company) can recommend a good arbitrator. But both parties have to agree to work with the same arbitrator. Plus, you can choose to have a panel of arbitrators instead of having one arbitrator. There is no one-size-fits-all for who your arbitrator will be.
Once You Have Your Arbitrator
Once you’ve decided who your arbitrator(s) will be, you’ll select your hearing date. Your hearing date is your deadline to submit all the documentation and evidence you have. For example, if you have to justify your pain and suffering, you’ll want to show proof of physical therapy. You can provide a letter from your doctor stating how difficult your recovery has been.
Then you wait. While you’re waiting, Nationwide takes time to review each other’s arguments. They have the opportunity to settle outside of court during this review process. In fact, two-thirds of cases settle before they ever reach the hearing.
Nationwide Arbitration Clause
But, not all cases settle before the hearing. For the cases that don’t, they go to arbitration or to court. For car insurance companies like Nationwide, they go to arbitration. Nationwide includes an arbitration clause in their insurance policies. This clause cuts down on legal costs. While arbitration isn’t free, it’s not as expensive as a courtroom.
There are two types of arbitration: binding and non-binding.
- Binding arbitration makes it just that: binding. The decision that the arbitrator makes is the final decision. You can disagree with it, but you can’t argue it. Additionally, you can’t sue the insurance company if you’re upset about the arbitrator’s decision. You’re bound by it.
- Non-binding arbitration is the exact opposite. Either party can reject the decision that the arbitrator makes. In non-binding arbitration, parties who reject the decision usually go to court.
Nationwide will likely require you to accept binding arbitration.
There are three types of coverage for first-party auto insurance claims:
– Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage
– Medical payment coverage
– Underinsured or uninsured driver coverage
Should I Get An Arbitrator?
Are you in a difficult position where neither parties want to settle? Maybe you’re offered an unfair settlement. If this is the case, get an arbitrator. While Nationwide insures you, they care more about saving money than they do about you. We hate to say so, but it’s the truth for every insurance company out there.
The Arbitrator’s Decision
The arbitrator(s) will take time to review both sides of the case and the evidence. Once they reach a decision, they will notify you. Some arbitrators work quickly and make a decision within a couple of weeks. But some arbitrators take months. Don’t expect an explanation for their decision. They don’t normally provide one. They simply state their decision and give directions for how to proceed. In binding arbitration, you cannot appeal the decision because you don’t like it.
Nationwide Arbitration for 3rd-Party Claims
You’ll file a claim as a third party if another driver hits you. You’ll report the accident to their insurance company instead of yours. As a third-party claimant, you’re not required to go through binding arbitration. The other driver’s insurance company doesn’t have the legal authority to make this demand. So, while you can go through arbitration to satisfy them, you won’t be bound by it. If you disagree with their decision, you can still take them to court.
We recommend consulting an experienced personal injury attorney. This is especially important you’re debating between arbitration or a lawsuit. Lawsuit Info Center has all the resources you’ll need to find the right attorney.
Why Opt for Nationwide Arbitration?
There are several reasons to go through arbitration:
- Save money. Going to court costs more money. There aren’t as many legal fees. You don’t have to hire an attorney, either.
- There is no limit to how much you can collect like there is in small claims court.
- You can include pain and suffering in the amount you request. Some courts will fight you on this. Arbitration won’t.
There are also several advantages to go through arbitration.
- It’s way faster than going through the court system.
- A judge or jury won’t make a decision for you.
- The rules of evidence are more lax.
- Once you’ve settled through arbitration, you’ll receive your funds faster.
What Happens During the Nationwide Arbitration Process?
The process is fairly simple. Let’s go through it together.
First, you should know that Nationwide will have an attorney present. That attorney will represent them, but that doesn’t give Nationwide an advantage. There won’t be any courtroom lingo used. Nothing will be difficult to understand. There won’t be any surprises.
When it’s your turn, you’ll go through the following steps.
- Make an opening statement. Share your name. Describe your side of the accident. Go into detail about what happened. State your claim. Make clear what you want to get out of the hearing.
- Give a case presentation. Show your evidence to the arbitrator. Show solid evidence that will make it difficult for them to rule in the other party’s favor. Make sure to include your damages and injuries.
- Make a closing statement. Argue for the compensation you’re requesting. Remind the arbitrator why the other driver was responsible for the accident.
Remember, if you’re a first-party claimant, the arbitration will be binding for you. But, if you’re the third-party claimant, you can reject the arbitrator’s decision. You can still choose to take the other driver to court. Since they are the first-party claimant, they won’t have a say. They have no choice if you take them to court.
If you decide to go through arbitration as the third party, have an attorney review your case for you. They’ll give you a free consultation and tell you whether you can represent yourself. They’ll tell you that you need an attorney if they think you do.
How Is Nationwide At Paying Auto Accident Claims?
That depends on who you talk to. Attorneys who have had a positive experience with Nationwide will rate them favorably. Attorneys who have lost cases against Nationwide will rate them poorly. Remember, many insurance companies pay attorneys to represent them. They’d rather do that than invest that money into their policyholders. We recommend consulting with an attorney before you make a decision.
Talk to Your Attorney about Nationwide Arbitration
It’s a good idea to discuss the details of your accident with your attorney. But keep in mind that Nationwide can take you to arbitration without asking for your opinion. The insurance companies often decide on arbitration without consulting their policyholders. But, if you are the third party or your own party, we recommend talking to your attorney.