Visitor Question

To Arbitrate or Go To Trial?

Submitted By: Anonymous (Chicago, IL )

I was rear ended in an auto accident in 2003 resulting in 3 surgeries & permanent injury to my wrist, shoulder and collarbone. The court date is this August. My lawyer is telling me that the defense will only agree to arbitration with an agreed upon cap, or trial.

I don’t know what the case would get in trial and I don’t really understand the process of arbitration in terms of… is it possible i will get my cap? The award may be over the cap?

I need advice re: my injuries, parties involved, and since we are suing an insurance company, which course of action would result in the most beneficial result for me?

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear Anonymous,

You should ask your attorney a few questions before proceeding with these details in mind.

Trial can be very expensive and while your attorney may advance those fees (or pay for them up front for you), he or she will be reimbursed from your settlement.

Depending on what the case is worth, you and your lawyer will need to make the intelligent decision of what the case is worth balanced against the cost to try it. Sometimes this will make the decision for you.

Now, when you are talking about arbitration, there are two kinds: Binding and non-binding. If binding, the award the arbitrator gives you is final. If non-binding, you still have the opportunity to go to court typically if you are unhappy with the award.

You will want to ask your attorney which type of arbitration has been suggested and whether it is mandatory. Lastly, the defense usually submits and offer to you with language that induces you to settle. Such language may require that you pay their defense fees if you lose.

You should ask your lawyer if you have received any such offer. Never make a decision without first knowing all the facts. I assume that once you know what you are getting into, the decision will be much easier to make.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: July 13, 2010

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