Arbitration In personal injury lawsuits is a useful tool in your arsenal of settlement weapons. If you suffer personal injuries from an accident, what’s next? You can file an insurance claim, but this may not give you just compensation for your injuries. You may have to file a civil lawsuit to assert your claim for compensation and protect your valuable rights. Once you file a lawsuit for personal injuries in Oklahoma, several things can occur to resolve or end the process of asserting your compensation claim.
You can either file the lawsuit and represent yourself or you can hire a injury litigation attorney familiar with personal injury lawsuits. In the process of civil litigation the courts in Oklahoma will make you go to a mediation before the trial. Along with mediation there are other alternatives available to litigants that allow them to settle your case without going to trial. One alternative to a jury trial where you have to prove negligence and damages is arbitration. One of the alternatives is dispute resolution (ADR). Arbitration can be voluntary, or it can be required by the terms of a contract. If the arbitration isn’t required per the contract the parties must agree to arbitration. Once its agreed to they must decide whether the arbitrator’s decision is binding or nonbinding.
Benefits Of Arbitration in Personal Injury Lawsuits?
Arbitration in personal injury lawsuits affords litigants in a accidental or intentional injury case a chance to settle the dispute before they go to trial. This involves a host of injury cases including car accidents, work injury accidents and dog bites. Most injured people are represented by attorneys at an arbitration. Arbitration can be binding, which means that the decision is signed by the Judge assigned to the case. If you agree to arbitration that is binding you and the other side are both legally obligated to the decision rendered by the arbitrator. Arbitration and mediation allow attorneys and their clients to resolve legal matters in a less adversarial environment.
As a form of alternative dispute resolution, arbitration provides several advantages over a jury trial. Advantages include:
- Formality is greatly reduced and the arbitration takes place outside the court.
- It could reduce the amount of attorney fees;
- Led by experienced legal professionals such as retired judges or lawyers to help settle the case;
- Unless otherwise agreed by a contract you are not forced to settle on terms you dont like;
- The process is done on the schedule of the parties to the case and may move much faster
- The outcome of the arbitration can be made confidential.
This is different than mediation, where the mediator may only mediate and not make a decision. In a binding arbitration the arbitrators final decision is like a decision of the court. But, unlike a courts decision you and the opposing party cannot appeal the arbitrator’s decision.
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The Arbitration Process
Professional arbitrators are disinterested third parties. They are said to have absolutely no interest either personally of professionally in the results of the arbitration. The job the arbitrator is like that of a judge at a jury trial. The process involves hearing testimony and reviewing potential exhibits and other evidence that might have been used in court. Arbitration proceedings are not necessarily subject to formal rules of evidence or procedure. Before the arbitration hearing, the litigants have the opportunity to do discovery. This discovery process includes interrogatories and if necessary depositions of witnesses in the case. Litigants in the injury lawsuit can present their evidence to the arbitrator as if they were in a trail in District Court. The case can still go to a jury trial if the litigants fail to reach a settlement or if the arbitration is not binding.
Personal Injury Arbitration Attorneys
Every personal injury case is unique and presents different challenges. Small changes in a fact pattern result in different outcomes. Before you take any steps to settle a legal claim you should understand that the insurance company and its adjusters are not in the business of giving you a maximum settlement. Rather, their goal is to give as little as possible in every case they have. On the other hand an injury attorney has a stake in the outcome of your case. This is because they work on a contingency that awards them a percentage of the final settlement. An attorney can advise you about what might be your best option – litigation, negotiation, mediation, or arbitration – for recovering compensation for your personal injury claim.
The Tulsa personal injury attorneys at Kania Law Office are experienced and knowledgeable in all types of truck and car accident injury cases. Our attorneys are equally skilled at arbitration in personal injury lawsuits and other alternative dispute resolutions such as mediation. For more information about how our Oklahoma personal injury lawyers can help you, call 918-743-2233 or contact us online.