Automobile Arbitration – Tips for Success

Occasionally, even the most arduous efforts may still reach an impasse when claims adjusters are negotiating a settlement of an automobile claim when there is a dispute over damages and/or liability.  Fortunately, an effective low-cost remedy is to submit the matter to Arbitration for review and decision by an unbiased Arbiter.

Success in arbitrating automobile claims relies on the Applicant’s ability to prove both negligence and damages. Proof of Damages and verification of the paid loss must include an appraisal by a reputable source.  Damages can include the physical damages to the vehicle together with towing, rental and/or storage paid.  Proving negligence is often much more difficult than proving damages, as the loss facts reported are often subjective and without the support of a police report or witness statement.  In every case, it is incumbent on the Applicant to prove both damages and negligence and a signed or recorded statement from the driver of the Applicant vehicle is imperative in most cases, but absolutely so in instances where there were no police called to the scene.

Contentions should contain three elements of liability:  Duty Owed, Duty Breached and Proximate Cause.

Duty Owed– well-written contentions for collision losses should include citations of local Vehicle & Traffic Law, State-specific Negligence rules as this information alerts the arbitrator to the reasonable standard of care in a particular jurisdiction.

Duty Breached – to establish liability on the part of the adverse party contentions should clearly state how the breach of the duty owed by the Respondent caused the Applicant to sustain damages.  Evidence such as witness statements, police reports, driver statements, scene photos, maps, diagrams and applicable reports relating to weather and road conditions can support the contention of a breach in duty owed.

Proximate Cause-lastly it must be proven that the direct or immediate result of the breach of duty or negligence of the adverse party caused the loss and the resulting damages.

The Spartan management team designed its Arbitration Management Program as an effective solution to assist clients in achieving their recovery goals.  Our experience in expertly writing contentions and assembling detailed demand packages has resulted in our ability to deliver successful outcomes.

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