USAA Arbitration Clause
A USAA auto insurance policy is a contract between you and the insurance provider. Insurance companies usually require arbitration after settlement negotiations break down because it is less expensive than going to court.
Can you still go to court if you disagree with the arbitration decision? Maybe. There are two types of arbitration:
- Binding: Whatever the arbitrators’ decision, it is binding and there is no appeal. This is the most common type of arbitration within auto insurance companies.
- Non-binding: The arbitrator’s ruling may be accepted or rejected by either side. You can still file a lawsuit.
USAA, like most insurance companies, has binding arbitration in its car insurance policy contract. You need to go to arbitration if you file a USAA claim and settlement talks fail.
Note that you cannot sue your auto insurance company if there is a binding arbitration clause in your contract. You either walk away empty-handed or go to arbitration.
But do not be surprised if your claims adjuster tries to avoid arbitration. If you mention you are tired of settlement talks going nowhere and you want to arbitrate, the adjuster might raise their settlement amount.
Going to arbitration suggests the claims adjuster did not do their job. Arbitration costs USAA more money, so you can use the threat of arbitration as leverage to get a better settlement.
USAA Arbitration for Third-Party Claims
If you file a USAA auto crash claim on the other driver’s policy, that is a third-party claim. His insurance company cannot require you to go to arbitration. Only your own insurance company can do that. When settlement talks break down with a third party insurance company, you and your attorney usually file a lawsuit.
Why Opt For USAA Arbitration?
Arbitration has advantages.
- Arbitration costs less than a personal injury lawsuit. Your legal fees will be less with arbitration than if you file suit. An attorney is not even required in the arbitration hearing.
- Arbitration has no monetary limits, as you will find in small claims court.
- You may be compensated for your pain and suffering in arbitration.
- Also, the court can schedule arbitration faster than a court trial. Your case could end more quickly, which is essential if you need money for your medical expenses and lost wages.
- You can have a say in who the arbitrator is. In a trial, you have no say over the judge, and little say about the jury.
- Evidence rules in arbitration are more relaxed than in a court trial.
- If you obtain compensation, you may receive it faster than after a lawsuit.
- Having an attorney is often recommended in an arbitration hearing. But it is not necessary. An arbitration hearing is not as complicated as a court case, so some claimants choose to go without an attorney.
USAA Arbitration Process
If you have a lawyer, he can accompany you to the hearing. If you have serious injuries requiring months of recovery, having an attorney is probably smart.
But for minor injuries, you may not need your lawyer. An attorney will represent USAA, but attorneys have fewer advantages in arbitration proceedings. If you know your case and evidence, you are on a similar footing as the USAA attorney. The arbitrator will strive to be fair to a non-attorney in the hearing.
The arbitration hearing is non-formal and generally goes like this:
You give your opening statement, saying who you are, and offer a description of your accident claim. Also, state what you want to get out of the hearing.
Next, you provide a case presentation. Show your evidence to the arbitrator and make your most robust case. Document your damages and injuries. If fault is in dispute, you need to prove they caused the crash.
Finally, you give your closing statement. Summarize the strengths of your case, your damages, and injuries. Provide a formidable figure you think you deserve for compensation.
The arbitration decision will come down in one or two weeks. There is no appeal.
Even if you decide to go without an attorney, it is smart to have your arbitration case reviewed by a personal injury attorney just in case.
USAA Auto Accident Settlements
Many attorneys say USAA is above average in paying out claims, compared to other insurance companies. One attorney reports that his average personal injury settlement with USAA over three years was $41,600. In his entire legal career, the average USAA settlement was $64,000.
Why are settlements with USAA often higher than for other insurance companies? USAA usually has more extensive bodily injury liability coverage. For instance, many USAA settlements have a BIL policy that is not under $25,000.
Also, USAA just has a better reputation for paying on personal injuries in auto insurance claims.
Sample USAA Car Accident Settlements
Everyone wants to know how much their USAA auto accident settlement will be. All cases are different, but we can learn some tendencies by reviewing past USAA settlements. Below are some actual USAA settlements from around the US. If you want more information about your case’s potential value, locate a car accident attorney with the Lawsuit Info Center search tool.
$200,000 USAA Car Accident Settlement
A driver t-boned another driver at a busy Miami intersection. The ambulance took her to a local hospital. The X-ray showed she suffered a broken risk. The doctor did surgery in the fractured risk, including inserting a plate and screws.
USAA had a $100,000 bodily injury policy with the at-fault driver. But the attorney pressed the case and found out that the driver was on the job at the time of the accident. Another insurance company insured the at-fault driver, and the result was a $200,000 USAA settlement for a broken wrist.
$100,000 USAA Bike Accident Settlement
A pickup truck hit a biker in Florida. A helicopter airlifted her to the hospital. The police officer stated that the biker had on dark clothes and the accident occurred at night. The at-fault driver could argue that he could not see the biker.
However, the police saw the woman’s flashlight near the crash scene. The flashlight worked when the crash happened, so the victim argued that the driver should have seen her.
The woman suffered scarring and disfigurement to her face and abdomen. She suffered several facial fractures. Doctors inserted five screws into her facial bones. The victim also needed surgery to fix two collapsed lungs.
The pickup truck driver had a $100,000 bodily injury policy with USAA. The victim did not have any uninsured driver protection, so the maximum settlement was $100,000. Her medical bills and pain and suffering exceeded $100,000, but the attorney persuaded the hospital to take $33,000 for her hospital bill.
$70,000 USAA Pedestrian Accident Settlement
A driver saw a hose in the middle of the street in Florida. It was day time. She wanted to get the hose, so she made a U-turn. The driver exited the car to retrieve the hose. Another driver hit her when she was walking back to her car.
Additionally, her attorney claimed the pedestrian accident caused a broken leg, sacrum fracture, shoulder impingement, herniated discs, and four bulging discs.
USAA insured the at-fault driver, and it quickly paid $70,000 to settle the claim.
Get Legal Help With the USAA Arbitration Process
If you plan to go into USAA arbitration, hiring a skilled attorney with you could improve your chances of getting fair compensation. Lawsuit Info Center can help you find an experienced personal injury attorney in your area. Use our site to find a licensed attorney near you today.
Ideally, you and your attorney will reach a fair settlement with the insurance company. But if this fails, threatening to go to arbitration can encourage the insurance company to up their settlement offer. Arbitration is more expensive than a settlement for the insurance company.
Once your arbitrator has seen all of your evidence and arguments, the hearing is over. The arbitrator should render a decision in one or two weeks.
Most auto insurance policies allow you to resolve a claim through arbitration, which is an out-of-court process. It is less formal than a trial. You and the insurance company offer evidence to an arbitrator about your claim. The decision is usually binding and there is no appeal. Arbitration is usually your last chance at compensation if settlement negotiations falter.
After you sign the release, it can take up to six weeks to receive your check. Some cases take up to two years to settle, depending on the accident and the injuries’ nature.