Pros and Cons of Arbitration for Florida Personal Injury Claims

Anyone seeking compensation for a personal injury claim might feel torn between pursuing a settlement or going to trial. Arbitration offers another way to negotiate for compensation. A Florida personal injury attorney can help you understand your options and choose whether or not to pursue arbitration as an alternative dispute resolution method.

What Is Arbitration?

Arbitration is one of a few options open to personal injury victims seeking resolution outside of court. Rather than facing a judge or dealing with the complexities of negotiating insurance claims, arbitration brings in a neutral third party known as an arbitrator. The arbitrator’s job is to examine the case impartially and determine what the insurance company owes the injured person.

Arbitration may be voluntary, meaning all parties agree, or mandatory, meaning the arbitration is part of an insurance contract. While arbitration is typically faster than a drawn-out trial, getting there can be lengthy, often requiring much back and forth to reach a consensus. At the outset, both sides must agree to:

  • Pursue arbitration as a path to resolution (assuming it’s voluntary).
  • Select an arbitrator (often a retired judge or a Florida personal injury attorney with extensive legal experience).
  • Pay the arbitrator (50/50 in most cases).

A potentially bigger factor is whether the arbitration is binding or non-binding. Binding arbitration means the arbitrator’s decision is final. Non-binding arbitration is a recommendation with the opportunity to appeal. Non-binding arbitration gives both sides an idea of how binding arbitration might have gone, compelling them to settle sooner.

Pros and Cons of Arbitration

Arbitration is a mixed bag. On the one hand, it offers distinct benefits, such as the following:

  • Confidential. Unlike a court proceeding, the terms and outcomes of arbitration don’t enter the public record. This could be important if your reputation is at stake.
  • More efficient. Bypassing the courts tends to bring about a faster resolution. Any involvement at the local, state, or federal level complicates things.
  • Less stressful. It’s in everyone’s interest to make the process go as quickly and smoothly as possible, which means a more agreeable experience for all. You also avoid the intimidation of standing before a judge and jury.

On the other hand, arbitration has some downsides that could influence your decision to pursue it:

  • Limited appeals process. Even if the arbitration is non-binding, those left with the short end of the stick might have little leeway to demand a better settlement.
  • Possibility of bias: Although arbitrators are supposed to remain objective, bias could influence how you choose one. A jury vetted by the court is more likely to grant an impartial verdict after systematically weighing the evidence.
  • Rising arbitration fees: In the past, arbitration was cheaper than a lawsuit by default, but the rising fees associated with hiring an arbitrator mean it may not be the most affordable option.

Weighing these pros and cons will help you decide whether arbitration is appropriate. Let the advice of a seasoned attorney at a personal injury law firm steer you in the right direction.

Contact Warner & Fitzmartin for Help With Your Personal Injury Claim

Regardless of the resolution, a personal injury case can be overwhelming. Whether you’re recovering from a spinal cord injury, a traumatic brain injury, or the aftermath of a slip and fall, it’s hard to know where to go next when medical bills, emotional trauma, and pain are the focus of your attention.

At Warner & Fitzmartin, we understand the ins and outs of arbitration for injury victims and can help you navigate your options with compassion backed by experience. Call us today at (561) 803-0167 or complete our contact form to request a free case evaluation with a Florida personal injury attorney.

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