Like so many other aspects of everyday life, legal matters and the processes they bring have all been affected by the pandemic. All of a sudden, the entire world fought to pivot into a new normal that required less physical interaction with each other. Relatives celebrated holidays online, teachers navigated virtual classrooms, and commercial pick-up orders became the new way to shop for many. The ins and outs of courtrooms were not spared from these changes. One major change has been the use of arbitration as a method for alternative dispute resolution (ADR).
WHAT IS ARBITRATION?
The American Arbitration Association defines arbitration as “the out-of-court resolution of a dispute between parties to a contract, decided by an impartial third party (the arbitrator).” This option is thought to yield a faster resolution at a more affordable price than litigation.
HOW COMMON IS VIRTUAL ADR NOW?
Since the pandemic hit, virtual ADR has been wildly popular with the use of video conferencing programs like Zoom. In-person hearings came to a halt for quite some time and, though they have since resumed, the backlog of cases is now the real problem. The wait time to have a hearing is longer than ever, which is prompting many to consider alternative options like arbitration via Zoom. Many suspect it will take years to get the courts caught up on cases, and plenty of people are not willing to wait for an in-person hearing. The virtual option for arbitration has become so popular that many attorneys have already acclimated themselves to the virtual setting, learning the intricacies of the virtual platforms available.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF ARBITRATION?
One major benefit of arbitration is that you can save your time. Instead of waiting for that backlog of cases to recede, you can reach a settlement much faster on your own time. In fact, if you opt for virtual arbitration, you can cut down on travel time for both parties. Several attorneys across the country have been able to serve parties that were physically in different cities, states, or even countries. The amount of time you save on travel and scheduling for all parties involved is quite valuable and, by saving this time, we are able to dedicate even more focus on your specific needs and case.
Another major benefit of arbitration is the amount of money you can save by avoiding litigation. You naturally cut down on the amount of resources required and the number of people involved, therefore reducing costs all around.
OUR EXPERIENCE WITH RECENT ARBITRATIONS
Keller, Melchiorre and Walsh has enjoyed unparalleled success with non-binding arbitration in personal injury cases. Unlike mediation, during which a mediator does not make decisions and instead attempts to negotiate a resolution between the parties, non-binding arbitration results in a decision rendered by the arbitrator. The attorneys at KMW present your case in the same way they would to a jury to ensure that the arbitrator understands the importance of your injuries and damages.
Attorney Chris Kellam represented a young woman, Jane Doe, who was involved in a hit-and-run crash on Interstate 95. Because the crash did not result in much visible property damage to her vehicle, the insurance company refused to take her case seriously. The highest offer by the insurance company was $25,000. Ms. Doe hired KMW to represent her in court. The parties were ordered to complete non-binding arbitration. Based on the substantive and meaningful presentation by KMW, the arbitrator awarded to Ms. Doe more than $310,000. The decision was “non-binding” which meant that either party could reject the decision and move forward to a jury trial. Instead of continuing its fight, the insurance company relented and paid the award.
CONTACT US TODAY
Arbitration is here to stay, and virtual ADR methods are earning their place in the world as well. The changes brought on from the pandemic exposed the fact that there are sometimes more effective options in the workplace, and we could not agree more. If you are tired of wasting your time or efforts waiting for an in-person hearing, contact us today at Keller, Melchiorre, and Walsh. Our experience is to your benefit, and we are ready to share our expertise with you. Give us a call today so that we can help you create a plan that will save your family time, money, and unnecessary stress in the long run.