What Happens When Your Personal Injury Case is Called to Arbitration?

  • Dan T. Matrafajlo
  • Tue Nov 2018
  • Accident,Auto Accident,Personal Injury,
  • 0

arbitration

When you are injured due to the negligence or reckless actions of another party, you may be entitled to compensation. However, insurance carriers are not always quick to settle cases for the full value they deserve. Some cases take more lawyering and even go to trial in court. However, you can avoid a court trial by going to arbitration. In some cases, arbitration may even be mandatory under New Jersey law.

What is Arbitration?

Arbitration is an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) process by which legal matters are resolved without the need to proceed to trial. The dispute is submitted to an arbitrator—a neutral attorney or retired judge—who hears arguments, reviews evidence and renders a non-binding decision, much the same way that a judge would in court.

Personal injury cases in New Jersey are often referred to arbitration to avoid the time and expense of a trial. Under New Jersey Court Rule 4:21A, parties in certain civil cases are required to take part in mandatory, non-binding arbitration. Such arbitration can lead to early resolution of cases and save all parties attorneys’ fees and other court-related costs.

Cases Required to be Arbitrated Under New Jersey Law

There are several types of cases that New Jersey law requires to be arbitrated. These include:

  • Auto negligence personal injury.
  • Other personal injury cases, not including professional malpractice or product liability.
  • Book account and personal injury protection (PIP) cases against the plaintiff’s insurer.
  • Contact and construction litigation cases deemed suitable for arbitration.

The parties can object to arbitration before or within 15 days of receipt of the notice scheduling of an arbitration hearing. After that time, a party who does not want to partake in arbitration is required to file an objection by formal motion.

An arbitration hearing is scheduled after the discovery phase of the case. This means that both sides have submitted written answers to interrogatories. At the very least, the plaintiff’s deposition will also occur before the arbitration.

What Happens at the Arbitration?

Your New Jersey personal injury attorney will notify you of the date of your arbitration hearing. Before the hearing, each party must exchange a statement of the issues. Attorneys for both parties will be present.

The arbitrator conducts the hearing while each party presents its case. Since the process is less formal, the hearing is typically held in a conference room, as opposed to a courtroom. After the hearing, the arbitrator will render a non-binding decision based on who he/she thinks is at fault and grant a written award.

For example, in a personal injury case involving a car accident, an arbitrator will decide whether you recover money damages from the other driver’s insurance company, and if so, how much.

If you are not unhappy with the arbitrator’s award, you have 30 days to reject it and file a notice with the court called a “demand for a trial de novo” by which you request a formal trial. The arbitrator’s fee is agreed upon by both parties and generally split between them.

Call a New Jersey Car Accident Attorney

If you or someone you know has suffered any type of injury in a car accident caused by the reckless or negligent actions of another driver, an experienced New Jersey car accident injury attorney can help. Call Beninato & Matrafajlo Attorneys at Law, LLC at 908-248-4404 to schedule a free, complimentary consultation with our legal team today.

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Dan T. Matrafajlo

Dan T. Matrafajlo

NJ State Bar: #031722003

Dan T. Matrafajlo, Esq., is the managing member and lead partner at Beninato and Matrafajlo, Attorneys at Law, LLC. Renowned for groundbreaking contributions to personal injury law, he has set legal precedents with influential Appellate decisions and garnered recognition in the New Jersey Law Journal. A consistent honoree on Super Lawyers' Rising Star list for the past five years, Matrafajlo's litigation prowess is widely acknowledged. He has won various awards like Super Lawyers, Thomson Reuters Association 2019, and Nominated into Super Lawyers as a Rising Star from 2012 until the Present.

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