What is Arbitration?
Arbitration is a popular option used to reduce the cost and time involved with malpractice settlements. During arbitration, instead of your claim being heard by a judge or jury, the facts are heard by a panel of three arbitrators. The three arbitrators make a legally binding decision. One arbitrator is selected by you, the patient, one is selected by the physician, and the third is jointly selected from a list of trained arbitrators. You are still able to have an attorney assist you during the process.
What are the Benefits?
Time – Money – Privacy
A medical liability lawsuit often takes years by the time it is resolved in court. Through arbitration, settlements can often be completed in months.
The amount recovered is not limited. An award can be just as much as in a court trial. You will receive a greater proportion of your settlement as your legal costs will be a fraction of what they would be in a court trial. Your medical records and information are kept private throughout the proceeding whereas in a court trial they are made public.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q. Does signing the arbitration agreement take away my right to sue a doctor?
A. Not at all, it just governs the manner by which the suit will be settled.
Q. Does signing the arbitration agreement take away my right to a jury trial?
A. Yes, you and the doctor are agreeing to waive the right to a jury trial and agree to replace the jury with the three arbitrators.
Q. Why are you asking me to sign an arbitration agreement?
A. The clinic and its doctors prefer arbitration as the means of settling a medical dispute; therefore, we ask all new and continuing patients be offered the agreement. You will be given a copy of the agreement to take home. You are allowed to cancel the agreement within 10 days of the date of signature.
Q. Will the doctor see me if I do not sign the arbitration agreement?
A. By law, a doctor may not refuse to see a patient solely based on their choice not to sign an the agreement.