What happens during arbitration?
Arbitration and mediation fall under a concept called “Alternative Dispute Resolution,” or ADR. Both methods offer more private, efficient solutions to conflicts rather than battling them out in a courtroom.
Arbitration is similar to a small claims trial in that both sides present evidence and make arguments supporting their positions. Unlike small claims trials, in arbitration, the person who decides the outcome is not a judge, but an arbitrator.
An arbitrator is a neutral third party who studies the facts of the dispute, listens to both parties, and combs through the evidence to make their decision.
It’s important to note that there’s no obligation for an arbitrator to reach a compromise between parties. That’s more along the lines of mediation, another type of ADR.
Keep reading to learn about what happens during arbitration. If you’re facing litigation or the threat of litigation, Coover Law Firm, LLC is here to help. We’ll protect your rights and work to have the matter resolved as quickly as possible.
Call (410) 553-5042 now.
What Happens During the Arbitration Hearing
- You and your attorney will show up to the hearing. If you brought someone with you (a friend or family member), they’ll likely have to wait outside.
- The arbitrator will begin the session and review the rules. You, the other party, and any potential witnesses will be sworn in.
- You and the other party may now take turns presenting opening statements. Afterward, you and your attorney will present your case, followed by questioning from the other party’s attorney, although this is not required.
- Because you’re the one bringing the claim, you’ll make your case first. If you’re bringing a claim against a third party, it’s your responsibility to prove that the other party is liable for your injuries.
- When both sides have finished presenting their cases, the arbitrator may ask if the parties have any closing remarks. You should take this opportunity to restate your position and briefly emphasize your evidence. Remember to thank the arbitrator for their time.
- The arbitrator will make their final remarks and end the hearing. Once you leave the office, you won’t be able to speak with them again. Unless additional documents are requested, no further contact will be made between you.
- You’ll receive the arbitrator’s decision within a couple of weeks. Because arbitration is more binding than mediation, you will not be able to appeal the decision if it is not in your favor. That’s why it’s so important to hire a competent, experienced lawyer from the get-go.
- In theory, the other party doesn’t have to say anything. Because you initiated the claim, you must prove your case. However, it’s unlikely that you’ll see no resistance. In most cases, the other party’s attorney will try to devalue your claim or flat-out oppose it.
You and the other party will sit on either side of a table with your respective attorneys while the arbitrator sits at the head. A court reporter may be present to make note of the proceedings.
Arbitrators rely mostly on the evidence presented, not on either side’s argument.
If you’re bringing a claim against your insurance company, you’ll have to prove the scope (extent) of your damages and why you should be compensated.
Know What to Expect During Arbitration
Arbitration is a less complicated alternative to taking an issue to court. It’s more efficient, more private, and usually less expensive as well.
However, arbitration is really only a good option if you have good counsel. An experienced attorney will work to resolve your case as quickly as possible while putting your best interests first.
Attorney Fred Coover of Coover Law Firm, LLC has over 30 years of experience helping resolve all kinds of civil issues. If you’re facing or wanting to bring a case against another party, call our firm today at (410) 553-5042.