WHAT IS ARBITRATION?
Arbitration is an out-of-court process that is less formal than a court trial but still allows you to come to resolution with a third party. One common reason for arbitration is when an insurance company offers significantly less than the value of a car accident claim.
In Arizona, arbitration is mandatory for civil disputes under $50,000. Arbitration offers a venue with lower court costs for litigants and reduces the burden on court judges with already busy court calendars. The court can waive mandatory arbitration if both parties present a valid reason for why the case needs to be heard by a jury trial.
Arbitration is a streamlined process designed to be an alternative to filing a lawsuit and going to court. Many aspects of the process are limited or simplified so that the hearing takes significantly shorter to resolve than a lawsuit. Not only is the process faster than settling a suit, but it typically costs less than going to trial.
THE ARBITRATION PROCESS
The first step in the arbitration timeline is to notify your claims adjuster that you want to refer the claim to arbitration. The insurance company may decide to negotiate further instead of heading to arbitration. If they don’t, the plaintiff files a Certificate of Compulsory Arbitration with the Complaint.
Once your claim becomes an arbitration case, the Arbitration Department will appoint a random arbitrator. All parties will receive notification of the selected arbitrator. The arbitrator will send out a Notice of Arbitration Hearing that lists the date, time, and place of the hearing. They must do so within 120 days of their appointment, though most hearings happen much sooner.
After the hearing, the arbitrator will reach a decision and file a Notice of Decision. The winning party must then submit the amount of the award and a statement of costs to the arbitrator within ten days of the arbitrator’s decision being filed. When the arbitrator approves the arbitration award, the losing party can file an appeal. If the award is appealed, the court sets a trial date and may require the parties attend Alternative Dispute Resolution.
The entire process, from start to finish, will take significantly shorter than a formal trial. You can expect to have your claim resolved within about 6-8 months of filing suit as opposed to years before the case is heard by a jury.
HOW DO YOU PREPARE FOR AN ARBITRATION HEARING IN ARIZONA?
Car accident and personal injury damages arbitration hearings usually take place at a neutral location with all parties present. The arbitrator will hear all sides arguments and will consider all of the evidence.
Typical hearings only last a couple of hours. There is enough time for your attorneys to make an opening statement, call and cross-examine any witnesses, present evidence to support your claim, and make closing remarks.
DO YOU NEED A LAWYER?
If you’ve been in an auto accident, the last thing you want to do is fight with insurance companies to get fair compensation for your accident. While arbitration hearings are less formal than lawsuits, we still highly recommend seeking legal advice. An experienced and skillful law firm will protect your rights when pursuing your car accident claim and represent your interests in an auto insurance arbitration. The Folger law Firm will take on the insurance company in an arbitration hearing to ensure that you get the compensation you deserve from your car accident case.
Call our office today to get the advantage of our experience for your car accident arbitration case.