Jury Trials can be time consuming, risky and expensive. Many cases are better suited for Arbitration.
What is Arbitration and why is it better than a Jury Trial for some Pennsylvania Personal Injury cases?
What is Arbitration?
Arbitration is a form of Alternative Dispute Resolution in which rather than take a Civil Case, like a Pennsylvania Personal Injury Lawsuit, to a Jury Trial, the parties agree to resolve it a different way.
Arbitration involves a hearing similar to a Trial and is usually binding, meaning that the Arbitrator’s decision ends the case.
The parties choose a neutral person, like an attorney or retired Judge, to act as a single Arbitrator, or they might choose a Panel of Three Arbitrators to hear the case. The parties often submit legal memoranda and documents in advance of the Hearing for the Arbitrator to review.
Then, a Hearing is schedule either live or virtually. Arbitration Hearings are similar to Trials in that they usually involve Opening Statements, Testimony and Cross Examination of Witnesses, Submission of Documents and other Evidence and Closing Arguments. Sometimes legal arguments are submitted after the Hearing. The Arbitration ends with the Arbitrator’s decision which is usually written and sent to the parties.
What are the Advantages of Arbitration?
Although for some cases a Jury Trial is preferable, the following are the benefits of Arbitration:
- A binding decision with no Appeal
- A quicker Hearing (I recently tried an Arbitration in 4 hours and the Jury Trial of that case would have taken 4 days)
- Decreased Costs (Often Expert Reports can be used rather that expensive live testimony of experts)
- Decreased Stress on Litigants (Arbitration is quicker and less formal than a Trial – putting less stress on the parties)
- Arbitrations can be Private and Confidential – while Jury Trials are Public Events.