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Posted On September 26, 2012 Personal Injury

Going to Court Versus Binding Arbitration or Settlement

When it comes to seeking compensation from an insurance company after an accident, they are not going to make it easy on you. Insurance companies see the costs associated with aggressively defending against personal injury claims as a cost of doing business and they feel that if they can make it so difficult that no one would ever want to pursue a claim, they have succeeded. What they want more than anything is to try and force your case into a jury trial as the jury climate right now is largely in the insurance company’s favor.

What Options Are There Other Than Court?

In an ideal situation, we would be able to reach a settlement with the insurance company via negotiations or through what is called a binding arbitration. We prefer this because we know what amount our clients deserve and we also know that allowing their award to be left up to a jury is a risky gamble.

Obviously the best situation is that we reach a settlement through negotiations, but binding arbitration is also very good. In this kind of arbitration, the two sides (us and the defense) will present all their evidence as they would in court to a neutral, third-party who will then render a decision. What makes this different from a regular arbitration is that whatever amount the arbitrator decides on is what you will get, it is binding. There will not be any surprises going in though because the two sides will agree on a high-low settlement meaning there will be a limit to the lowest acceptable amount that can be awarded and the highest amount that can be awarded.

Why Are Juries So Against Injured Plaintiffs?

One of the major contributing factors to the unpredictable and unfavorable jury climate right now is the propaganda that has been spread by the insurance companies. They spend millions of dollars on advertising and lobbying politicians so that they can make everyone believe that personal injury claims are “frivolous” and that these people are greedy fakers. Of course, this could not be further from the truth. All that our clients are doing when pursuing a personal injury claim is asking that the insurance company hold up their policies and pay the money that is due under these contracts.

There are basically three factors that make the current jury climate so risky for injured parties:

  1. The jurors have been fooled by the insurance company propaganda, making them very cynical of anyone who is stating they suffered injury.
  2. There is no set value for a given injury for the jury to base their decision off of, and oftentimes if they do award money they will think that they are doing you a big favor by awarding $100,000 when really that wouldn’t even make a dent in the costs you have accrued as a result of the accident.
  3. The entire outcome is very unpredictable, as we do not know how easily swayed they will be by the defense. There is no guarantee when you go to trial that you will be awarded money, with a binding arbitration or settlement you at least know you are getting a large portion if not the full amount that is due to you.

If you have been injured in an accident and need assistance, call (866) 778-5500 for a free evaluation of your claim.