Settlement through arbitration has become increasingly favored by both patients who have been injured and providers of healthcare over the traditional complaint and trial system within the state court circuit, but the reasons for this favor from both sides of the court are likely different.
Claimants, or patients who have been injured and are bringing claims of medical malpractice to the arbiters, are likely to feel that the process of arbitration is more rapid, less expensive, and more fair than a trial in the state court.
Alternatives to Arbitration
Claimants that do not like the process feel that it tends to favor the healthcare provider over the claimant and that it is more difficult to build a case by relying on evidence and legal precedents that were established in prior cases of arbitration.
There are also claims that the process of arbitration is a secretive one and that medical negligence claimants are already at an unfair position by engaging it. An example of where this may hold merit is when one considers that claimants of medical negligence may not be able to find out as much in admissible facts as they would if the case were playing out in a state court.
Arbitration is voluntary, as opposed to a mandated procedure. Each side must agree that an independent and neutral third party will hear their dispute by reviewing all of the evidence related to medical negligence. The decision will then be rendered. It is essentially a mini trial and the rules of evidence are relaxed such that evidence that possibly would be inadmissible in court may be used in arbitration. The arbiter’s ruling is a binding one that ends the dispute.