What is Arbitration for an Auto Accident?

What's In This Article

An auto accident can be a very traumatizing experience for any driver. They can range from minor to severe and typically happen in the blink of an eye. In the luckiest cases, your car is fine and you have no injuries. But in many, many cases, you’re not so lucky. After an accident, you may be experiencing a lot of stress and questions. Am I injured? How will I get my car repaired? Who will pay for all of this? It may not even cross your mind to think about claims and the car accident arbitration process. 

Lawsuit Info Center sees this happen all the time. Accidents range from minor fender benders to serious, head-on collisions. Each accident comes with its own set of problems. Claims specialists and insurance adjusters work together to resolve those problems. Sometimes the process goes smoothly. But the insurance companies can’t always agree on a settlement when you submit a claim. When that happens, you’ll go through arbitration. 

What is the Difference Between Auto Claims and Car Accident Arbitration?

There’s a major difference between auto claims and car accident arbitration. An auto claim is filed when you’ve been in a car accident. The claim includes the following:

  • Time and date of the accident;
  • How the accident occurred;
  • If there were any injuries;
  • Contact info for the other party/parties involved;
  • If there were any problems collecting information from the other party/parties;
  • Police reports;
  • Other documentation, like medical bills or doctor’s notes;
  • Photographic evidence.

Filing your claim is the initial step you take after your car accident. It lets the insurance company know what’s going on. It begins the formal process of resolving the accident. Without filing a claim, you can’t collect damages.

Car accident arbitration is a later, optional step. Here are the steps to take, in order.

  1. File claims with all parties involved.
  2. Attempt to settle with the other party. Negotiations can carry on for months.
  3. Go to arbitration if settlement attempts fail. 

Arbitration means that you couldn’t settle on your own. So, you need a neutral third party to settle the matter for you. Another route that you may choose to go is to file a lawsuit against the other party. However, this option can be very complex and drawn out. In this article, we will review many reasons why car accident arbitration can be better than filing a lawsuit. 

What Happens When an Insurance Claim Goes to Arbitration?

Arbitration is the next step when a claims settlement attempt fails. This means that someone outside of the insurance companies involved decides who is at fault and who deserves settlement money. Arbitration is a step between a claims settlement and a lengthy lawsuit in a courtroom. It involves a neutral third party who settles the case for you. There are different kinds of arbitration and resolutions. In this article, we’re going in-depth on the topic of arbitration. 

We’ll cover the following:

  • The different types of arbitration clauses; 
  • Each phase of arbitration; 
  • The processes you’ll go through; and 
  • Some frequently asked questions. 

Two Types of Accident Arbitration Insurance Clauses

There are two types of arbitration: binding and non-binding. They are what their names suggest. Binding arbitration means that you are bound by the arbitrator’s decision. You can’t argue about it or fight it, even if you don’t like it. Non-binding arbitration means that you can fight it. You don’t have to accept the arbitrator’s verdict.

For the most part, you’ll be subject to binding arbitration. This is especially true if you hit the other driver. All first-party claimants are under binding arbitration. The only exception is if you’re the third-party claimant. This means that you are suing the other driver’s insurance company. You’ll have the right to veto the arbitrator’s decision in this instance. But we’ll get more into that later. 

Why Choose Car Accident Arbitration?

Insurance companies require their policyholders to submit to binding arbitration. There are several reasons for this. Arbitration is a much faster process. It takes away some of the unknown. It helps with bias. But most importantly, arbitration saves money. Let’s take a look at the procedural and financial benefits of arbitration. 

Procedural Benefits to Car Accident Arbitration

First of all, courtrooms are generally unpleasant experiences. The red tape and legal paperwork are extraneous and straining. It can seem like all you do is fill out paperwork. It can feel exhausting and pointless. 

But we have good news for you. Arbitration is a simpler process. It’s why most insurance companies require it. The simplicity of it helps everyone involved.

First, getting a set date for your arbitration doesn’t take as much work. It’s a matter of scheduling it between both parties and the arbitrator. Saving this time can be a very big deal. You’ll want to settle when you’re suffering. You need to be compensated for your damages. Waiting for the court to settle your date can take long enough. 

But did you know that courts often reschedule court dates? That’s right. You could be anxiously waiting for your day in court, only to have it rescheduled. And that rescheduling can happen at the very last minute. Arbitrations can also be rescheduled. But it happens with sufficient notice for all parties involved. 

Second, you’ll walk blindly into many courtroom settings. You won’t know the judge. You won’t know if they have any prejudices or biases. It’s unlikely, but you could have a jury. If you do, the same situation will apply. 

But you can choose your arbitrator. You and the other party will have to agree on who the arbitrator is. But it is by no means a random process. You could choose a retired judge whom you respect or an attorney who has helped you in the past. You can also choose someone based on their reviews. As long as both parties agree, you can hire the arbitrator. 

Third, the rules of evidence are more relaxed for arbitration. In courtroom settings, only certain things can be used as evidence. But you won’t have to worry about whether your evidence is okay to share. Is it directly relevant to the car crash? Then it’s evidence that needs to be shown. That’s how arbitration works.

Fourth, there are courtroom deadlines to deal with. We don’t mean how long you have to file a document. (That is something to stay on top of, though.) These details regard the compensation that the judge might award you. But the judge might set a deadline that’s months out. So, you might not see your money for a while. This can be very frustrating. 

With arbitration, you will have to wait for your compensation. But it won’t take nearly as long. The arbitrator will set a deadline for each party. The time frame will be reasonable, but it shouldn’t be long or drawn out. 

Financial Benefits to Auto Accident Arbitration

First, arbitration isn’t nearly as expensive as court. You’ll need to pay the arbitrator for their time and services. There isn’t one flat rate that all arbitrators use. It varies based on their experience levels. But it won’t cost as much as court. How do we know? Because there will be fewer legal fees. You’ll pocket more money. 

Second, every car crash is different. Some will be worth thousands in claims. Others are only worth hundreds. How much your claim is worth determines where it goes. For example, small claims courts handle smaller claims. But every state has a different definition of what a “small claim” is. 

This can quickly get complicated and confusing.  This is especially true when the car accident happened in a different state from where you live. But in arbitration, there are no monetary limits. You could be suing for $5,000 or $50,000. The process stays the same. There aren’t rules regarding where you can take your arbitration, either. The courts will schedule the arbitration for you, regardless of dollar amounts. 

Third, it can be really hard to collect damages for pain and suffering. There can be difficulty in proving why you need it. This can be true, even when you have a trail of evidence. Sometimes you have to work really hard for it. There’s no guarantee that you’ll collect pain and suffering in the arbitration process. But it won’t be as difficult to obtain. The courtroom process is more difficult. 

How to Prepare for Arbitration

Preparing for arbitration is a fairly simple process. You’ll choose your arbitrator and decide on a location. You’ll prepare a statement with all your evidence. You’ll have an allotted amount of time to present your side of the case. Let’s dive in. 

Choosing an Arbitrator

Choosing an arbitrator can be a random process. Your insurance company might decide who to choose for you. But you have the right to be part of the decision-making process. You might need to speak up to make that happen. 

You can also recommend an arbitrator. It could be an attorney with whom you’ve worked in the past. It could be a judge whom you respect. Or it could be someone you’ve never met who has good reviews. You can also object to an arbitrator if there’s a conflict of interest. 

Arbitrators usually have a legal background. Many are retired judges or attorneys. But all arbitrators have an advanced degree. They are certified in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). They have the necessary skills and experience to make a decision for you. You can trust them to resolve the case.

The Arbitration Location

The arbitration will take place wherever the courts schedule it. If you don’t like the location, you can protest it. But ask the arbitrator to change the location, not the court. Once the arbitration has been scheduled, that becomes the arbitrator’s responsibility.

It’s likely that your arbitration will take place in an office or conference room setting. Attorneys who are ADR-certified often have conference rooms for that very purpose. Either way, you’ll be in a professional setting.

What to Expect from Car Accident Arbitration?

If you’re about to go through the arbitration process, then you should know what to expect. There’s a timeline you can anticipate. You’ll also want to know what’s expected of you throughout the process. In this section, we’ll go into all the details. You’ll be prepared for your arbitration day. 

How Long Does Car Accident Arbitration Take?

You can easily wait a year or longer to get a court date. Of course, this is very frustrating. It’s also another reason to choose arbitration. Your entire case will be resolved within three months’ time. 

The car accident arbitration process generally follows a routine timeline. 

The Car Accident Arbitration Timeline

Days 1-14: In the first two weeks, the arbitration process will begin. It begins with filing your request with the courts.

Days 15-45: In the first six weeks, you’ll choose the arbitrator. Your insurance company will likely select the arbitrator for you. But, like we said earlier, you can object if you don’t like the arbitrator. You should especially speak up if there’s a conflict of interest. The arbitrator will likely be a judge or attorney. They may still be practicing law, or they might be retired. Many retired judges and attorneys arbitrate part-time. 

Days 45-75: About six weeks into the process, you’ll start preparing for the arbitration. You’ll exchange case information as you prepare. Your insurance company will guide you through the process. They will tell you what you need to know and do. Be sure to comply quickly to get through the process in a timely manner. 

During this time, you’ll collect all your evidence. Gather photos of the car accident. Make sure you have documentation of medical injuries. Include bills for car repairs. In short, bring everything that shows what you’ve gone through. This will help you collect all your damages. Of course, there are no guarantees. But being prepared will give you your best shot.

Day 76: Around day 76 of the arbitration process, you can expect to begin taking big steps forward. It’s the day you’ll meet with the arbitrator and the other party involved. We’ll go through the phases of arbitration in the next section. This part of the timeline is when you’ll present that information.

You’re 2 ½ months into the arbitration process now. Within three months total, the arbitrator will make their decision. You can usually anticipate it 85 days into the process. 

The Phases of Arbitration

Opening Statements

Your opening statement will be a description of the car accident. It should include a replay of what happened. You’ll want the arbitrator to mentally picture the accident as it unfolded. Be completely honest in your statement. If you made a mistake that contributed to the accident, include that. It’s not fun, but it’s necessary. It’s important to take responsibility for your part in the accident. That is, if you have a part. 

If you weren’t responsible for the accident, say so. State exactly what happened. Express how much pain and suffering you’ve been through. 

Case Presentations

After you make your opening statement, it’s time to present your case. This is where you’ll show all the evidence that backs up your opening statement. All the documentation you gathered has its place here. Use it as evidence that proves that you deserve the damages you’re requesting. 

Your evidence should include photos of the accident. You should include medical bills and a doctor’s note concerning your injuries. You should also include car repair bills and your personal pain and suffering. 

Closing Statements

Your closing statement is your opportunity to sum it up. Remind the arbitrator of why you deserve to be compensated for the accident. Rehash the most important details of the accident. Then, thank them for their time and for considering your side of the accident. 

Determination

Arbitrators usually render decisions in about two weeks. You won’t need to meet with them again. You’ll receive a written notice stating their decision. The notice will include whether you are awarded damages. It will also include whether you owe the other party money. The arbitrator will give deadlines regarding each part of their decision.

How Much Money Will I Get From Arbitration?

Arbitration is ideal because it saves you money. You don’t have to pay extraneous court fees. You’re not limited in how much money you can collect. There’s no such thing as a small claims court in arbitration. There is no one-size-fits-all answer regarding how much money you’ll get. But you will save money on legal fees. And, you’re more likely to collect a fair settlement in a timely manner. 

How Long After Arbitration is Settlement?

You’ll get your money from the car accident arbitration way faster than you would from the courts. The arbitrator will render their decision within two weeks of the arbitration. Their decision will include when you get your money. There is no one-size-fits-all answer here, either. The arbitrator could require a lump sum payment. Or, the arbitrator could allow the parties to make payments until the full amount has been paid. Each situation is different. But you won’t be endlessly waiting for your money. 

What If I Am Unhappy With The Arbitrator’s Decision?

Most of the time, car accident arbitration is binding. This means that you can’t appeal it. It doesn’t matter whether you like the decision. The arbitrator has the final word. This applies to most car accident cases. But there is one exception.

If you’re a third-party claimant, you can reject the arbitrator’s decision. What is a third-party claimant? It means that you’re suing the driver who hit you. Their insurance company can’t hold you to binding arbitration. This means you can force the other driver to go through arbitration with you. But you can reject the arbitrator’s decision if you don’t like it. The driver who hit you is still bound by binding arbitration. This is because they are the policy holder with their insurance company. 

So, who is subject to binding arbitration? Your insurance company most likely binds you to binding arbitration. But another driver’s insurance company cannot bind you. 

If you hit another driver, they can force you into arbitration, too. In that case, they are the third-party claimant for your insurance company. They will also have the right to reject the arbitrator’s decision. 

First-party claimants are subject to binding arbitration through their own insurance company. Third-party claimants are not subject to binding arbitration. The other driver’s insurance company can’t require that.

What Happens if I Lose My Car Accident Arbitration?

Losing your car accident arbitration is not the goal for anyone. After all, you put time and effort into this. You prepared documentation and evidence. You showed up, despite probably feeling nervous. You’ve endured a lot. So, yeah, it kind of sucks. A lot of different things can happen when you lose your car accident arbitration.

  1. You might be stuck paying for all or part of the other party’s damages. 
  2. You could be 100% responsible for your own damages. 
  3. Your insurance company might raise the price of your premium. 
  4. You may need to make monthly payments to the other party, if you owe a lot.
  5. You may be required to make a lump sum payment that’s pricey.

Other Options to Receive a Settlement

Arbitration is a great solution to settling a car accident. But it’s not the only way. Did you know that two-thirds of car accidents are settled after arbitration has begun? Both parties want to settle as quickly as possible. The longer it takes, the more money both insurance companies lose. Long, drawn out settlements aren’t fun for anyone involved. 

So, what changes? The insurance companies continue to negotiate with each other. Their negotiations don’t pause when arbitration begins. As soon as they reach a compromise, they’ll settle. This could be the day after the car accident takes place. But it could also take months. 

Arbitration is there when neither party can agree to settle. But settlement can happen at any time.

Learn More About Arbitration With Your Insurance Company

You now know how arbitration works. But how does it work with your insurance company? You probably picked the insurance company that had the best coverage for the lowest rate. Arbitration probably wasn’t on your mind. You might have been unaware of the arbitration process. It’s included in the fine print that a lot of us skim over. But even if you did read about it, you might have since forgotten. 

Every insurance company handles the claims process the same way. But each company also has its caveats. In this section, we’ll go over each insurance company’s arbitration process. 

Allstate

You’re in good hands with Allstate. Allstate is one of the most popular car insurance companies in the United States. Signing a contract with Allstate binds you to following their policies. That includes binding arbitration. When you’re in a car accident, you’ll file a claim with Geico. They’ll do their best to settle with the other driver’s insurance company. But if settlement negotiations fail, you’ll go to binding arbitration. 

Allstate includes:

  •  Personal injury protection coverage; 
  • Medical payment coverage; and 
  • Coverage for drivers who are uninsured or underinsured. 

Allstate is like most other insurance companies. Some attorneys call them “below average” when it comes to paying bodily injury claims. They don’t offer very good pain and suffering compensation for personal injury cases. They don’t allocate their resources to put their policyholders first. 

You can read more about Allstate and its policies here

American Family

American Family is an auto insurance company. It’s not as popular as Allstate or GEICO. But it’s still a good insurance company. American Family does require binding arbitration for all policyholders. Have you been in an accident? Start by filing a claim. Hopefully you’ll be able to settle quickly. But if not, American Family will guide you through the arbitration process.

American Family offers:

  • Personal injury protection coverage; 
  • Coverage for medical bills; and 
  • Coverage if you’re in an accident with an uninsured driver. 

American Family is below average for paying settlements. 

Go here to read more about American Family. 

Farmers Insurance

Farmers Insurance has been around for ages. They’re a trusted insurance company. They offer auto, home and life insurance, among other types of coverage. Were you in an accident? Call Farmers Insurance today to begin the claims process. Hopefully you’ll quickly settle with the other party. But if not, Farmers Insurance uses arbitration for settlements. 

Farmers Insurance offers:

  • Personal injury protection coverage; 
  • Coverage for medical bills; and 
  • Coverage if you’re in an accident with an uninsured driver. 

Farmers Insurance is average when it comes to paying settlements. Their goal is to save money like all other insurance companies. But they do pay out settlements in a relatively good time frame.

Read more about Farmers Insurance.

GEICO

The famous company that can save you 15 percent in 15 minutes or less uses the arbitration process. They handle millions of claims every year. Going to court would cost them exorbitant fees. It would affect the insurance they provide to other policyholders. Binding arbitration applies to first-party claimants (if GEICO represents you). Non-binding arbitration applies to third-party claimants (if you’re suing GEICO’s driver). 

GEICO offers:

  • Personal injury protection coverage; 
  • Coverage for medical bills; and 
  • Coverage if you’re in an accident with an uninsured driver. 

Read more about GEICO’s arbitration process here. 

Liberty Mutual

Can you almost hear the liberty theme song playing in the background? Liberty is another insurance company that has been around for a long time. And like every other insurance company we’ve mentioned, they require binding arbitration. 

Going through the claims process is not fun. But an authorized representative from Liberty Mutual will help you. You can also use the Liberty Mutual website or app to file a claim. As always, we hope you’re able to settle quickly. But the process doesn’t always go smoothly. And that’s exactly what arbitration is for.

Liberty Mutual offers:

  • Personal injury protection coverage; 
  • Coverage for medical bills; and 
  • Coverage if you’re in an accident with an uninsured driver. 

Read more about Liberty Mutual here

Nationwide

Nationwide has a lot of mixed reviews. Some drivers haven’t had great experiences with them. But many drivers have had very positive experiences. Reading reviews online can help you understand what some drivers have been through. But for many people, Nationwide has been on their side.

Nationwide offers:

  • Personal injury protection coverage; 
  • Coverage for medical bills; and 
  • Coverage if you’re in an accident with an uninsured driver. 

Read more about Nationwide and its arbitration process here.

Progressive

Progressive has been working with auto insurance policyholders for many years. They could be better. But they could also be a lot worse. 

They offer:

  • Personal injury protection; 
  • Medical coverage; and 
  • Insurance for uninsured or underinsured drivers. 

In recent years, some accidents have made headlines. For example, there was a $27,500 settlement for a car accident victim. She suffered from sprains and strains in her neck and back. She didn’t require surgery, nor did she have any broken bones. But Progressive settled quickly and paid the settlement. 

Read more about Progressive here

State Farm

State Farm Insurance represents drivers who have been in auto accidents. They also use the arbitration process to save time and money. They’re fairly decent at paying out settlements. 

In one case, a guy on a road trip was hit from behind. It was clearly the other driver’s fault. He didn’t have enough distance between himself and the car he hit. The accident aggravated a previous injury–a bulging disc in the lower back. Steroid injections helped. The injured man didn’t want to have surgery. Between both insurance companies, he received a $57,000 settlement. 

State Farm offers:

  • Personal injury protection coverage; 
  • Coverage for medical bills; and 
  • Coverage if you’re in an accident with an uninsured driver. 

Read more about State Farm here

USAA

USAA works with military members and their families. Their goal is to provide military families with the best possible coverage. That includes those who have since been honorably released from military duties.

Here’s an example of an accident that a USAA driver was in. A t-bone accident resulted in a broken risk for the victim. She needed surgery. The doctor had to insert a plate and screws into the fractured risk. Between both insurance companies, the victim received a $200,000 settlement. 

USAA offers:

  • Personal injury protection coverage; 
  • Coverage for medical bills; and 
  • Coverage if you’re in an accident with an uninsured driver. 

Read more about the USAA arbitration process here

Wawanesa

Wawanesa is an auto insurance company best known in Canada. But they also insure drivers in Oregon and California. Are you an Oregon or California resident? Check out what Wawanesa has to offer you. 

Wawanesa offers:

  • Personal injury protection coverage; 
  • Coverage for medical bills; and 
  • Coverage if you’re in an accident with an uninsured driver. 

Wawanesa requires binding arbitration like every other insurance company we’ve discussed. Read more about their process here.

Get Help with Car Accident Arbitration

Have you been in a car accident? Is the settlement process not going the way you hoped it would? Unfortunately, this is all too common. Insurance companies argue with each other. Unfair settlement amounts are offered. A lot of people are often unhappy. 

That’s why we created this website. Lawsuit Info Center is here to help you through this challenging time. You can use the search icon in the upper-right-hand corner of the screen. There, you can type in what information you need to know. If you were in a car accident, you can search “car accident” with your insurance company’s name. We have comprehensive information available for most companies. Educate yourself about your company’s processes. Doing so will prepare you to file your claim. 

Lawsuit Info Center can help connect you to an attorney. Click “Find an Attorney” to get started. You’ll answer several questions. Then, you’ll receive a list of attorneys who can help you. Many attorneys offer free consultations. We recommend finding one who does. They’ll know from experience how to help you. They can tell you if you need an attorney to represent you. It’s better to consult with an attorney than to assume that you can handle it yourself. An attorney will know how much your case is worth. They’ll help you get the settlement you deserve. 

Frequently Asked Questions about car accident settlements

Being injured in a car accident, or even simply being involved and suffering damage to your vehicle, is a stressful situation. You will go through a lot of paperwork and even fights with insurance companies. If you take your car accident case to arbitration and wind up losing, what happens? What can you do if you lose your arbitration case? Let’s take a look at your options should you ever lose an arbitration case for a car accident.

Arbitration is Binding

Unless you and the other party put something in writing prior to entering into the arbitration process it is binding. This means that you won’t have an ability to appeal the decision made by the arbiter in your case unless the arbiter acted egregiously or negligently and you have the evidence to prove it.

The Ruling

The ruling from the arbiter can go in many different directions. For starters, the arbiter could rule in your opponent’s favor. This ruling could reduce the amount of compensation from your opponent to an amount less than originally offered. Or, the ruling could simply force your opponent to pay you the compensation they originally offered. You are the loser in this instance because you did not get the increase you sought.

The bottom line here is that there isn’t much more you can do for yourself if you should lose a car accident arbitration case, so be sure it is the right option for you at the time instead of litigation.

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If you’ve been injured in a car accident and aren’t happy with the settlement you’ve been offered you can take the other party or their insurance company to arbitration. You run the risk of losing the arbitration case and having to accept the initial settlement offer. Or, you could win the hearing and be awarded a higher amount of compensation from the insurance company. Let’s take a look at how long it takes to receive your money after an auto accident arbitration case.

The Arbitration Timeline

The timeline for an arbitration case is much shorter than the timeline for a trial. You can expect an arbitration process to last no longer than 85 days from start to finish. The shortest amount of time you can expect an arbitration case to last is 77 days.

The hearing for your arbitration case will occur on day 76. The ruling and award could be issued by the arbiter on day 77 or on the final day of the process, day 85. The arbiter has to issue a statement about the award and how he or she reached their decision. This statement cannot come past the 85th day of the case.

Once the award has been issued by the arbiter it can take anywhere from two to six weeks to receive the money. During this time your lawyer and the lawyer for the insurance company (or whomever is your opponent) will work on the settlement.

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Arbitration is a process used most often in resolving disputes between people fighting for compensation from an entity, such as a business or an insurance company. When two parties head for arbitration there will be an arbiter chosen. Most are former judges or highly experienced lawyers who do not have any type of conflict of interest with either of the two parties. When you go to arbitration it usually means that you will accept whatever decision is made by the arbiter. But, what if you don’t agree? Can you go to court after arbitration?

No Appeal Available

The point of arbitration, as opposed to going to court, is to reach a decision that is binding. This means that there will be no appeal available if you disagree with the ruling from the arbiter. That’s the major risk you take when agreeing to go to arbitration. Just because there’s no channel for an appeal on the ruling simply because you don’t agree with it doesn’t mean that the door is shut completely.

Gross Misconduct Appeal

There is the possibility of filing an appeal in court regarding the result of your arbitration case and it stems from gross misconduct. You cannot appeal because you disagree with the ruling, but you can appeal if you believe there was gross misconduct or negligence on the part of the arbiter assigned to the case. For example, did the arbiter take a bribe from your opponent? Did the arbiter fail to disclose a conflict of interest involving your opponent?

It is possible for both parties to agree prior to entering the arbitration hearing, in writing, that an appeal could be allowed. It all depends on how the documents are written before entering into arbitration.

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Getting into a car accident is never an easy, stress-free situation. Even if there was minor damage and no injuries you might still need to file a claim with an insurance company. So, you file the claim and the insurance company finally responds with its final offer for settlement. You find that the offer from the insurance carrier is much less than you either hoped for or anticipated. What can you do now? You can appeal the offer outside of court using a process known as arbitration. Do you need an attorney for an auto arbitration?

The Timeline for Arbitration

The timeline for arbitration is much quicker than that of a trial, but it’s still a good idea to have an attorney assist you throughout the process. The typical timeline for a car accident arbitration case is as follows:

  • Filing and initiating the case from 1-15 days
  • Selection of the arbitrator from 16-45 days
  • Information preparation and exchange from 46-75 days
  • The arbitration hearing on day 76
  • The award is issued between days 77-85

If you are unhappy with the settlement offer from the insurance company tell them you want to go to arbitration. You cannot force them to do so, but the minute you mention you have an attorney by your side and threaten you could file a lawsuit they will likely fold and go to arbitration with you.

Having an attorney represent you at arbitration for a car accident case will help you prepare the required documents, prepare how to answer questions, and help you determine the proper amount of compensation you should request.

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What does it mean when you hear word vs. word when referring to a car accident claim? This means there was no witness besides the individuals involved in the accident and their insurance carriers must take the word of their insured policyholder and support their claim, which might result in the claim being denied. Oftentimes, in a word vs. word car accident claim, the investigation is found to be incomplete or unreliable and the claim may be rejected. The arbitrator will determine the at-fault party once testimonies are provided. Decisions are final without the possibility to overturn in court.

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When you become involved in an auto accident, you generally file an insurance claim for the damages acquired. However, your insurance provider may not necessarily authorize your request. Insurance companies will research and investigate the accident themselves in order to determine the amount they are required to pay under your current auto protection plan. It is possible that your insurance provider may oppose the claim or offer some lowball settlement.  If this is the case and you do not agree with the offer your insurance company has made, you can agree to settle this dispute outside out court in an arbitration hearing.

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If you believe that the settlement offer that your insurance company has decided upon, you have the option to dispute through a process called arbitration. Auto arbitration is a less formal, out-of-court legal proceeding that allows you and your insurance company to settle a dispute with the other party involved in the accident. There is a neutral third party involved in the arbitration process called the arbitrator who will ultimately make the final decision on the settlement amount. This can either work in your favor or you may still be unhappy with the amount, however, once the arbitrator has decided on an amount the decision is final and neither party can appeal.

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Car accident arbitration is typically used when the two parties insurance companies cannot agree on the evidence provided from the investigation. An auto accident arbitration hearing is considerably quicker to resolve than taking the claim to court. The process may seem lengthy but keep in mind that it’s much quicker than trial. A car accident arbitration hearing can take around 3 months until the arbitrator has made the final decision but may also resolve sooner than that. The arbitration process goes through several stages, which include filing for arbitration, selecting the arbitrator, exchanging evidence, the hearing process and the arbitrator’s decision. Each stage roughly takes about 15-30 days to complete. Once the decision is final, no appeals can be made.

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Many people decide to take the alternative route and go through the arbitration process rather than taking the claim to court. You can expect it to cost you significantly less in money and time. You can also expect it to be similar in structure to a trial, however much less formal.

Arbitration process:

  • Filing for arbitration can take roughly anywhere between 1-15 days. This step happens once you’ve decided you are unsatisfied with the insurance settlement negotiations and will take the alternate route of arbitration.
  • Nominating/selecting a third party arbitrator can be a bit of a lengthy process due to the fact that both parties MUST agree on the arbitrator. The arbitrator must also have absolutely no interest or benefit in either party and remain completely unbiased. This process can take around 30 days.
  • Preparing for arbitration and exchanging evidence includes gathering photos, witnesses, testimonies, and solid proof to explain and support your claim. This preparation phase will typically take around 30 days.
  • The hearing process takes one single day and includes opening statements, testimonies, evidence, witness statements, cross examination and closing statements.
  • The arbitrator’s decision once made is final and there will be no opportunity to appeal. This typically takes about 1-2 weeks for the decision to be made.
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Once the arbitration process is complete and a decision is made, the settlement is final. You may not appeal or ignore the ruling. All paperwork and documents are filed and sent to you and your attorney with the decision.  You will also receive a notice clarifying the rights you may have once arbitration is complete and how you may move forward.

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Arbitration is simply settling the claim outside of court. This could mean that neither party was satisfied with the insurance negotiations. It could also mean both parties were looking to spare time and money in comparison to taking the case to court. Both parties have chosen to take the alternative route and agree upon an arbitrator to settle their disputes. So how does the arbitrator come to a conclusion? There are various points of key evidence they must gather in order to make a final judgment call including:

  • Details about the accident
  • Was anyone injured?
  • Who was found at-fault?
  • How much property damage?
  • How much compensation will you recover from your injures (if any)?
  • Were there witnesses to the accident?

The arbitration process is organized much like a preliminary, however the techniques are done in a more casual manner and a less formal setting. There’s an opening statement, testimonies, evidence reviews, cross-examinations, witness statements, and closing arguments. Once all is said and done, the arbitrator deliberates and decides within a few days.

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After being involved in a car accident and negotiating with your insurance company, you finally receive the settlement sum offer and find it to be significantly lower than expected. You solidly trust your claim is worth more. So you renegotiate with insurance and see if your settlement offer becomes higher. In some cases, these claims cannot come to agreement. When the point of no settlement understanding can be achieved, you have the option to settle the claim in court or through arbitration. In other words, arbitration is the alternative option to resolving the dispute outside of court.

Arbitration Process:

  • Both individual parties in the claim must concur on using a mediator known as an arbitrator. It’s possible the arbitrator is one person or even a group of individuals.
  • Both parties must agree upon the arbitrator.
  • The arbitrator then hears statements and testimonies from both sides, analyses evidence, and makes a decision on the claim.
  • Once the decision is made it is final and neither party is allowed to appeal.
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