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California uninsured / underinsured motorist claim. Please describe what binding arbitration would be like and how costly?

Los Angeles, CA |

I am trying to figure out if it is worth hiring an attorney to go after my insurance company. The other driver's insurance company paid the 15k policy limit plus my insurance paid 5k in med pay. I would like to tap into the additional 15k worth of uninsured motorist coverage that I have (it's a 30/50k policy); I believe my injuries justify the additional money but my insurance company says no.

My question is really to learn about the process and how expensive it would be. In other words, if I have to hire a lawyer, how much will just the arbitration cost? Would it be possible to ask for mediation instead? what would that cost? Would I recover those costs if I won?

Also, is arbitration basically just like court? Have to hire expert witnesses, etc. If so, probably wouldn't make much sense

Attorney Answers 9

Posted

A message board does not allow presentation of the sort of overview you would get if you sat down with counsel for an hour to discuss the topics you've raised. Talk to a personal injuury attorney about your situation. Trying to arbitrate on your own is like trying to drive with a blindfold on!

In no way am I offering you legal advice, and in no way has my comment created an attorney-client relationship. You are not to rely upon my note above in any way, but insted need to sit down with counsel and share all relevant facts before receiving fully-informed legal advice. If you want to be completely sure of your rights, you must sit down with an experienced criminal defense attorney to be fully aware of your rights.

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9 lawyers agree

Posted

While your question is a good question, this form does not allow the opportunity to provide you with answer. I have books on the subject. I would recommend that you either contact local counsel and have a meeting in which all these issues can be addressed.

This office handles uninsured and underinsured motorist cases and have done so for years. It is not a good idea, in my opinion, to represent yourself in this type of matter. The insurance company will have attorneys representing them.

Usually arbitration costs are equally shared by the claimant and the insurance company. Generally speaking each side bears their own costs.

Arbitrations are similar to court but there are a myriad of rules that apply to arbitrations that do not apply to court. Some rules regarding introduction of evidence and what the arbitrator may consider are different.

I would highly recommend that you contact counsel to learn your rights and how you should proceed.

I wish you the best of luck

The information provided is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. I am only licensed in the State of California and I am not providing you with specific legal advice. The law changes frequently and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Being general in nature, the information provided may not apply to any specific factual and/or legal set of circumstances and/or the jurisdiction where you reside. No attorney-client relationship is formed nor should any such relationship be implied. The information provided is of a general nature is not intended to substitute for the advice of an attorney, especially an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction. Your question, although you may believe is simple, it is not simple. You require legal advice, please consult with a competent attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction.

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Posted

I live and work in Los Angeles and deal with accidents like yours all the time, so I am happy to answer your question. The answer to your question is your gut instinct is right that you may need to hire a new lawyer and would likely get a better result if you hired one. Filing for uninsured motorist arbitration is equivalent to filing a lawsuit and will require A LOT of work. Moreover it sounds like the accident is completely the other persons fault so you don't want this case to become a difficult one because of lack of inattention. Our firm does not usually settle cases until the client is 100%. We look at the case as a whole and attempt to figure out what the settlement should be. The insurance company will make you believe that your case is worth very little... Regarding pain and suffering, you need to speak to an experienced attorney that can strategize your case. Just because you were in an accident doesn't mean you have pain and suffering, at least thats what the insurance companies think. Make no doubt about it you have a great case, but you need help from a professional. You are entitled to your medical bills being covered as well.

Do you feel that you are at the same medical condition that you were before the accident? As a basic premise I wouldn't handle your claim by yourself. The attorney you hired can likely refer you to a doctor, if you ask for one, who will see you with no upfront payment! I've done this many times to help my clients out. You should not wait a single day to hire a lawyer, we will advise you on the strategy of your case. There is no upfront cost to hire an attorney.

With a case like yours it seems like you have some good facts in order to get a high settlement, but your case definitely needs to be developed further to corroborate your story. The most important thing when building your case are: liability (were you at fault); how bad are your injuries to your body. A lot of these things sound like they are not complete yet in your case so its something that is worth hiring an attorney for in order to get a sense of whether you have a case and what the strategy would be for you to build a strong case! I've handled cases and/or spoken to clients in the Los Angeles, CA area.

Its very possible that your case is worth more than the $$$ that the insurance company will offer you by yourself. Make your life easier and call an attorney today, you won't regret it. We give free consultations!

I am licensed in California only and my answers on Avvo assume California law. Answers provided by me are for general information only. They are not legal advice. Answers must not be relied upon. Legal advice must be based on the interplay between specific exact facts and the law. This forum does not allow for the discussion of that interplay. My answer to any specific question would likely be different if that interplay were explored during an attorney-client relationship. I provide legal advice during the course of an attorney-client relationship only. The exchange of information through this forum does not establish such a relationship. That relationship is established only by personal and direct consultation with me followed by the execution of a written attorney-client agreement signed by each of us. The communications on this website are not privileged or confidential and I assume no duty to anyone by my participation on Avvo or because I have answered or commented on a question. All legal proceedings involve deadlines and time limiting statutes. So that legal rights are not lost for failure to timely take appropriate action and because I do not provide legal advice in answer to any question, if you are an interested party you should promptly and personally consult with an attorney for legal advice. Also, see Avvo's terms and conditions of use, specifically item 9, incorporated by this reference

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4 lawyers agree

Posted

I like your question. While no one can really tell you what to do in your situation, I can describe the arbitration process. Each side has a lawyer. The lawyers try to agree on an arbitrator. If they cannot agree, one side, usually the plaintiff/claimant, files a motion with the court and the court will select the arbitrator (you have to read the insurance policy to make sure to comply with the contract language.) Once the arbitrator is selected (or during the selection process), the 2 sides engage in discovery (this includes written discovery such as interrogatories or demand for production, depositions and, if needed, a medical exam). Once discovery is completed, the parties prepare for arbitration (it is like preparing for trial) and then appear at the arbitration. The arbitration is conducted like a trial with each side presenting evidence. The cost of the arbitration is equally divided between the parties. The arbitrated in renders a decision.

As to whether not it is worth to you to go to arbitration, that will require a face-to-face consultation with a lawyer. Most lawyers will meet with you for a free consultation. Good luck.

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Posted

You write nothing about your injuries or your damages. Whether you should arbitrate your UIM claim will depend on the nature and extent of your damages. Damages depend upon proof, not feelings.

If you have been representing yourself -- it is past time for you to retain counsel. Perhaps counsel can negotiate an acceptable UIM settlement. If you have an attorney, follow your attorney’s advice.

How costs of arbitration are handled, as well as the forum, will depend on the exact language of your policy.

Yes, of course, you can ask for mediation, as opposed to arbitration, but what is the point? If your lawyer cannot negotiate a settlement and the only issue is a maximum of $15K -- I doubt most lawyers would want to do double the work for the same result.

I too recommend you retain an attorney to represent you on your UIM claim and at arbitration proceedings. An attorney will be familiar with acceptable arbitrators, a crucial first decision. Good luck.

SINCE 1974. My answers are for general information only. They are not legal advice. Answers assume California law. I am licensed in California, only. Answers must not be relied upon.<br> <br> Legal advice and counsel must be based on the interplay between specific exact facts and the law. This forum does not allow for the discussion of that interplay. My answer to any specific question would likely be different if that interplay were explored during an attorney-client relationship. I provide legal advice and counsel during the course of an attorney-client relationship only. The exchange of information through this forum does not establish such a relationship. That relationship is established only by personal and direct consultation with me followed by the execution of a written attorney-client agreement signed by each of us.<br> <br> The communications on this website are not privileged or confidential. I assume no duty to anyone by my participation on Avvo because I have answered or commented on a question. Specifically, I assume no duty to respond to any question, comment, telephone call, or email because of my participation.<br> <br> All legal proceedings involve deadlines and time limiting statutes. So that legal rights are not lost for failure to timely take appropriate action and because I do not provide legal advice or counsel in answer to any question, if you are an interested party you should promptly and personally consult an attorney licensed in the appropriate jurisdiction for advice and counsel. See, also, Avvo's terms and conditions of use, specifically item 9, incorporated by this reference.<br>

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10 lawyers agree

Posted

A few more facts would be helpful, such as your damages................

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Posted

Simple answer- consult in person with an attorney to go over your case. You have many issues that will be difficult for a non-attorney to successfully navigate. for example, your insurance will take the position your available pot is only $10k not $15k, due to the $5k medpay. This is not necessarily so - but it could be if not handled correctly. Arbitration is like trial - but it doesn't have to be - many costs can be avoided like expert witnesses. In fact the entire arb may not be necessary. Mediation will possibly fruitful can kill your economic outlook on the arbitration if not handled properly. Consult an attorney - most attorneys like our office will offer you a no cost initial consultation.

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Posted

Ideally you'll hire an attorney who can convince your insurer to pay the $15k. You should probably look into a local PI lawyer. Many lawyers on Avvo will give you a free consult.

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Posted

Arbitration is not cheap. The policy usually calls for each side to pick an arbitrator and then the two selected pick a third. You pay for your arbitrator and 1/2 of the 3rd arbitrator and your costs are not recoverable. I do not know the rates in your area but $300. to $400. per hour is not out of line. The cases are usually resolved in one sitting. If your case requires experts that will be an additional cost. With your potential maximum recovery of $15,000. it may not be feasible to proceed with the arbitration. You should sit down with your lawyer and discuss the value of the case and his estimate of the time involved to conclude the case.

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