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What Is Arbitration?


Posted On behalf of Pfeifer Morgan & Stesiak on Aug 02, 2011 in Educational

Read almost every contract that you sign these days and you will see the word “arbitration.” It is a legal way to solve problems between two feuding parties without involving the courts system if possible. The dispute isn’t barred from becoming a litigation matter.

However, in arbitration, the defendant and plaintiff work out the issue, damages and remedies with minimal help from the lawyers and civil court judge. If things are not solved in arbitration, then a case goes to court.

Arbitration can be a difficult legal process for the average person to handle alone. For this reason, having an experienced South Bend personal injury attorney on your side can signifcantly benefit you during arbitration. 

How It Works

The court orders both parties into arbitration to solve their problems or come to agreement on an issue. The notices, claims and counterclaims are sent out before the arbitration begins. During the proceedings, a judge, or private arbitrator ensures that both parties move toward an agreement. The issues are discussed rationally and a consensus reached. Eventually. There are many cases that end in disagreement and must go back to court.

All decisions made in arbitration are not binding, however. Either party can initiate a civil suit after arbitration. Arbitration is usually used to settle contract disputes.

Who Is The Arbitrator

The arbitrator is a person hired to mediate between two parties in dispute over a civil matter. Arbitrators are often private, in business to perform dispute resolution. They do charge for services, but are much more reasonable than a civil trial.

Arbitrators can work for law firms or independently. The court chooses the arbitrator on the cases where parties are ordered into such mediation.

Special Considerations

An attorney is not needed to enter into and proceed through arbitration.

However, it is wise to hire a skilled personal injury attorney to ensure that your injuries are compensated for and other damages are properly assessed. The Indiana Code 34-57-2 covers arbitration. It states that parties are bound by signed agreements to enter arbitration before civil litigation over a dispute. This rule does not apply when the agreement violates law, as in cases of fraud.

Arbitration is a means of resolving a dispute, but should not be construed as a place to compromise your needs out of the case. This is another reason why an attorney is needed during the proceedings.