No one enjoys reading insurance contracts. They are often unnecessarily long and full of old-fashioned legal terms. They are the exact opposite of concise and understandable. But if you’ve signed up for an insurance policy, you should know exactly what is in it. This means reading through it until you understand your rights and duties with respect to your insurance company.
It is particularly important to read the arbitration-related portion of the contract. Many insurance companies include an arbitration clause in their policies. This clause requires you to go through arbitration if there is a dispute regarding a first-party claim. This means if you file a claim with your insurer and they deny it, you have to go through arbitration and not to court to resolve the issue.
Arbitration Might Be Mandatory
The exact arbitration process and limitation on your rights depend on your policy. Arbitration may be required or voluntary. The arbitration may be binding or non-binding. If your policy calls for required, binding arbitration during a dispute, you will be forced to argue your case in front of one or more arbitrators and will not have the chance to see your dispute resolved in court. Your rights to appeal the arbitrators’ decision will also be limited.
The Policy Determines the Arbitration Process
Your policy will detail the arbitration process you are required to follow. It may prescribe whether there is one or a panel of arbitrators. It should describe how these arbitrators are chosen. You may or may not have a say in how the arbitrators are assigned. Sometimes each party chooses an arbitrator. The policy may say where the arbitration will take place and any rules of evidence that apply.
Illinois’ Restriction on Arbitration
Illinois generally allows insurance arbitration clauses except in the case of bad faith claims. If you believe your auto insurance company is using unfair or deceptive trade practices and denied your first-party claim in bad faith, the insurer cannot force you into arbitration. You have the right to go to court to resolve issues of bad faith in Illinois.
Call a Chicago Personal Injury Attorney
No matter the exact arbitration requirement or process, you always have the right to be represented by a personal injury attorney in Chicago. While arbitration is faster and less formal than a trial, you should still have legal counsel. An attorney is knowledgeable in the arbitration process, insurance law, and in the best way to frame your argument and the facts. No matter how thoroughly you understand your situation, having an attorney represent you during arbitration gives you an advantage. The insurance company will certainly have a team of lawyers on its side.
At Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C., we understand how frustrating it can be to learn you have to go through arbitration. However, arbitration is often quicker and cheaper than court. It may be to your own benefit to follow this process. To learn more about the arbitration requirement in your insurance policy, schedule a free and confidential consultation with Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. at .