What is Arbitration in a New York Personal Injury Lawsuit?

A personal injury claim can be resolved in a number of ways – through an out-of-court settlement, a lawsuit that goes to trial, or through an alternative dispute resolution process like mediation or arbitration. In New York or New Jersey, arbitration may be mandated to settle a car accident claim dispute with an insurance provider or other motorist. A personal injury lawyer from Douglas and London can answer any questions you may have about this.

What is arbitration in a personal injury settlement?

This is a procedure in which a personal injury claim goes before one or more arbitrators to resolve a dispute. The arbitrator is typically an attorney with extensive experience in motor vehicle accident cases. In some counties, there are two arbitrators– a “plaintiff” attorney and a “defense” attorney. A case gets listed after the discovery phase of the case expires, at which point a notice of the arbitration date and time is sent to your attorney’s office.   

What happens during the process of arbitration?

Arbitration takes place in a conference room at the Superior Court where your case is filed. Attorneys for both plaintiff and defense will attend. Each side submits packets of information for the arbitrator(s), which may include: police reports, medical records, photographs, testimonies, and any other information helpful to the case.

If liability is a focus of the hearing, plaintiffs can be asked to provide testimony under oath and undergo attorney and arbitrator questioning. Once the case has been presented, both parties leave the room while the arbitrator(s) arrive at a value for the case. The final decision is issued in writing and parties have up to 35 days to reject the award. Awards may due in as little as 14 to 30 days from the close of hearing.

What is the difference between arbitration and mediation?

Arbitration and mediation are often mistakenly used interchangeably, though they are two different processes. In mediation, both parties retain the right to decide whether or not to agree to a particular settlement. Mediators have no power to impose a resolution other than the power of persuasion.

In arbitration, the arbitrator considers evidence and arguments before issuing a decision. A decision can be binding (meaning there is virtually no right of appeal) or non-binding (giving parties the opportunity to request a trial). A binding decision can be entered as a judgment in any federal or state court with jurisdiction, so it may be enforced like any other court ruling.  

Are there any advantages or disadvantages of arbitration, from a plaintiff’s perspective?

Both arbitration and mediation are more private, less expensive, quicker to resolve, and more efficient than courthouse proceedings. Arbitration has no monetary limits, which makes it preferable to small claims court, because you are allowed to include pain and suffering damages. The rules of evidence are not as strict and your legal team can have a say in which arbitrator gets picked. Procedurally, you’ll be able to schedule a hearing much sooner than a court case, and the payout typically arrives quicker.

Arbitration is a great deal if you’re the winner, but the loser’s right to appeal in binding arbitration can be very limited. The American Arbitration Association allows the arbitrator to change a final award if there are any clerical, typographical, or computational errors. A modification must be requested within 20 days after the final award is sent to the parties. The other party has 10 days to respond, and the arbitrator will rule on the request within 20 days.

If the arbitration is non-binding or if merits of the case and judgment are fiercely disputed, a rare appeal can be granted if all evidence and applicable law points to the fact that the arbitration result was irrefutably “arbitrary and capricious.” The disputing side can fill out a Trial de Novo form to request a new trial before a judge. If granted, it will be as though the arbitration never occurred, with the arbitrator’s report and award sealed.

Contact us at Douglas and London for a free consultation

A New York City personal injury lawyer is always an asset during arbitration. The stronger the evidence presented before arbitration, the more likely there will be a victory. At Douglas and London, we go the extra mile to investigate, take depositions, and assemble irrefutable evidence. We have extensive experience with all manners of personal injury dispute, whether settlement, mediation, arbitration, or court trial.

We let you know upfront what to expect, given the facts surrounding your case, and keep you informed throughout the entire process. Call to schedule a free consultation. You pay nothing until we win. 

Additional Resources:

  1. https://www.lawyers.com/legal-info/research/standards-of-review-on-appeal.html
  2. http://www.jdrllc.com/faqs/#:~:text=Mediation%3A%20The%20parties%20to%20the,than%20the%20power%20of%20persuasion.&text=Arbitration%3A%20The%20parties%20give%20the,the%20dispute%20to%20the%20arbitrator.
  3. https://www.nycourts.gov/courthelp/AfterCourt/trialDeNovo.shtml
  4. http://ww2.nycourts.gov/courts/7jd/courts/city/civil/arbitration.shtml
  5. https://www.injuryclaimcoach.com/alternative-dispute-resolution-process.html
  6. https://www.adr.org/sites/default/files/document_repository/AAA229_After_Award_Issued.pdf