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What to do if You Go Into Arbitration with the AAA*

If you have decided to use the AAA to go into arbitration to solve your dispute, there is a procedure you should follow before the arbitration can commence. Typically, arbitration starts when two parties have reached an agreement to settle a dispute using arbitration through the AAA. Sometimes one of the parties may have no choice but to solve a dispute in this way because he or she has signed a contract at some time agreeing that any dispute must be settled through arbitration administered and managed by the American Arbitration Association.
The AAA will appoint an arbitrator to listen to evidence presented by the concerned parties and then reach a decision. Arbitration isn’t always as clear cut as it sounds so if you have been drawn into the arbitration process you should talk to a lawyer first so that you have a better chance of an arbitrator’s decision benefiting you.

Conditions for Filing for Arbitration

Before you can file for arbitration with the AAA, you need to check if there is anything in your employment contract saying that arbitration is required for dispute resolution. If there is you will have signed to say you agree with it. If you don’t have a contract or agreement with the other party that includes an arbitration clause, or there is an arbitration clause present but no reference has been made to the AAA or International Centre for Dispute Resolution® (ICDR), the ICDR may proceed as long as the other party agrees.

You can contact the party(s) and jointly fill out a submission agreement which needs to be signed by both parties. Once the ICDR’s jurisdiction has been confirmed you may start the process of arbitration by doing the following.

  • Provide any supporting documentation or exhibits
  • Include the right amount of filing fee

How Long Does the Arbitration Phase Take?

How the Process of Arbitration Works

The American Arbitration Association (AAA) has a process that needs to be followed as outlined below:

  • An arbitration case commences once a party files to the AAA a ‘Demand for Arbitration’. If you are the other party you are called the respondent and then you will be informed by the AAA of the intended arbitration. You will be given a date by which you need to respond.
  • The next part of the process is identifying and selecting an arbitrator based on certain criteria decided by you and the other party.
  • Following this is the Preliminary Hearing where you and the other party will discuss all the issues related to the case such as witnesses who may be needed, depositions and information sharing between the two parties.
  • Next you will prepare your presentation and go about sharing information with the other party
  • The hearing takes place and this is when all the evidence and testimonies are presented to the arbitrator. There is typically only one hearing.
  • Post-hearing submissions may be allowed by the arbitrator.
  • Once any post hearing submissions have been completed, the arbitrator releases the final decision.

You May Need a Personal Injury Attorney

Arbitration never seems as simple as it seems, so in order to gain the most out of the process you need to talk to an attorney before attending arbitration. This helps to ensure you get the outcome you deserve.

Additional Resources


The content of this article serves only to provide information and should not be construed as legal advice. If you file a claim against the American Arbitration Association (AAA), or any other company, you may not be entitled to any compensation.

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