What is an arbitration?Return to FAQ Videos
An arbitration is an alternative to proceeding through the court systems. It is usually done with a panel of three, either lawyers or judges – sometimes retired judges, who serve as the jury. The case is tried, not as formally as a jury trial, but in the same manner as a jury trial, with the arbitration panel coming up with a finding similar to the verdict that is returned by a jury. Arbitrations are becoming more and more prevalent. We do a number of arbitrations here in our office. In talking with people in the community and talking to clients, there are many medical care providers that require that patients sign an arbitration agreement in the beginning of the physician – patient relationship. This requires those patients to proceed to arbitration rather than to trial. If it is a fair system of having the case decided, we don’t have a problem. Some of the arbitration requirements are not really fair or objective and that can be a problem. It can also be a problem if a patient signs an arbitration agreement in a doctor’s office and a mistake occurs in a hospital where there is no arbitration – there is no agreement to arbitrate. In that setting, the potential is present for the patient to have a requirement that they arbitrate with the doctor, and go to a trial in the typical court system, with the hospital. In that setting, you will not have both parties together so that the triers of the fact – the jury or the arbitration panel, will get the full picture.