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Arbitration in Dog Bite Lawsuits

What is an arbitration phrase? How does it affect dog bite lawsuits?

In dog bite claims, there is very little chance that the claim will go to court. It is estimated that there are 4.7 million dog bite cases every year in the United States, of which only 800,000 receive medical care. In addition, the medical costs for these claims tend to be relatively low.

The chance of a settlement is usually very high in these types of claims. However, emotions can run high in these types of cases. When the two sides cannot reach a settlement, another alternative to filing a lawsuit is to enter arbitration. Arbitration stops many claims from taking up room in the judicial system.

How is an arbitrator chosen? How does it differ from a lawsuit?

For an arbitrator to be chosen, both sides must agree on who is selected. There are individual arbitrators who offer their own services or an arbitrator can be chosen from one of the three large arbitration associations. Usually, arbitrators have come from a career in law, such as being an attorney or judge.

Each party will nominate a list of arbitrators and an individual will be selected from those. The arbitrator should be someone who is completely on the outside and not involved with either party. The arbitrator typically charges a fee, no matter what the outcome. It is usually a percentage of any settlement that is reached or would have been reached. Arbitrations proceedings are usually private, as opposed to court hearings, which are public. Also, the rules and regulations of arbitration are much simpler than that of a trial.

Why arbitration is more appealing for both parties?

Arbitration could be more appealing in these types of claims for many reasons.

  • The life of the dog could be saved
  • The dog could remain with its owners
  • It is relatively simple to prove fault in these types of claims.
  • Usually, dog bite claims are between two individuals and it will thus be easier to reach a settlement.
  • Arbitrators will usually try very hard to get all parties a generous settlement because they know that the next step will be to take the case to court.
  • Arbitration usually has a quicker result than going to court. If a client has to pay for medical costs out of pocket, it will take less time to recover that money.

Does a claimant has the option to go to court if they believe they didn't receive a fair decision?

Arbitration clauses are either binding or non-binding. If they are binding, a claimant will not have the option to go to court if the decision was not favorable. Even with a non-binding decision, there will still be a degree of difficulty in getting an arbitrated decision reversed. To be successful, a claimant must prove that they were not given a fair decision, either because of conflict of interest, or corruption on the part of the arbitrator.