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Be Careful Of The Risks Of Arbitration In Your Injury Case


If you speak to any personal injury attorneys, you will find that they very much are against arbitration. In many cases, injury attorneys lobby in congress, to try to minimize the use and effects of arbitration. But why? What is so wrong about your personal injury case going to arbitration? Turns out there are a lot of reasons.

What is Arbitration?

Arbitration is where your case is not heard by a judge, in court, and there is no trial, in front of a jury of your peers. Rather, your case is heard and tried before an arbitrator. An arbitrator is a neutral professional (who may or may not have a legal background) that acts as a judge. Whatever the arbitrator rules, is final, just as if a judge in court made the decision.

Many say they like arbitration, because it tends to be quicker than having a case heard in court, and in some cases, less formal, without the rigid application of the rules of evidence.

But although these can seem like compelling things, there are reasons why victims and their attorneys are very much against arbitration, and why defendants and their insurance companies like it.

Limiting Discovery

One main concern is that arbitration often limits the amount of information you can get from the other side.

As victims (Plaintiffs), we are the ones who have to prove our case. The Defendant technically doesn’t have to prove anything. That means that we need evidence that the Defendant does not need—evidence that the Defendant often has control, ownership and possession of.

That means that limiting discovery can severely hamper a victim’s ability to get the evidence needed to prove his or her case.

No Jury or Real Judge

One other major concern is that your case is not being heard by a jury of your peers. Decisions in arbitration are made by the arbitrator, not by a judge, sworn to uphold an oath, with an obligation of fairness and neutrality to the public and the legal system.

The arbitrator can, but doesn’t necessarily need to have a legal background. That means that he or she doesn’t have the legal knowledge that a judge would have.

Business Interests

Another thing to consider is that unlike a court or a judge, an arbitrator or arbitration company is a private business. They need to make money. Who does the arbitrator make more money from: you, with your one case, or the other side’s insurance company, that may give that arbitrator or company hundreds of cases every year, for years on end?

You can see how money, and business, can easily infect the neutrality of the legal process in arbitration.

Contracts With Arbitration

Arbitration clauses are in many of the contracts that we sign. They are enforceable, but they can in some cases, be challenged, allowing you to have your case in an actual court, before an actual judge and jury.

Contact the Tampa personal injury lawyers at Barbas, Nunez, Sanders, Butler & Hovsepian today. Schedule a consultation for help with your personal injury trial.

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