Is Arbitration and Option for my Auto Accident Injuries?
If you’ve sustained personal injury because of a car accident, the insurance companies are the first to decide on a settlement amount. In California, you can either take the settlement offered to you through insurance, or you can file a lawsuit against the other driver. When you sue the other driver, his or her insurance company has a contractual obligation to pay for the defense costs. That court case either goes to trial or is settled out of court.
So, in general, you aren’t likely to get directly involved in arbitration about the case. The insurance companies, however, can use an arbitrator to determine a fair settlement offer. For example, if your insurance company thinks you deserve $50,000 and the other driver’s insurance company believes that you only deserve $25,000, the two insurance companies might use arbitration to come to agreeable terms without an additional lawsuit. And as the victim of the accident, you might be called upon to testify in front of that arbiter.
If you’ve been involved in an accident, you should immediately call a lawyer. Assuming that the insurance companies will make the best decision for your losses as the victim may not be in your best interest. Insurance companies are failable. Plus they are looking at their own bottom line and an expensive lawsuit may cost them money.