Arbitration is a form of alternative dispute resolution whereby the parties agree to either one or three arbitrators to decide their case. Arbitration can also be mandatory as set by the Court after a lawsuit is filed. For example, all auto accident cases involving personal injury must go through a non-binding arbitration procedure whereby a Court appointed attorney decides the liability and value of the case. Each party has a thirty day period to reject the arbitrators decision.
Arbitrators however can be used as an alternative to a jury trial when the parties agree to hire a private arbitrator, either a retired Judge or an attorney to decide the liability and damages in the case. Generally, the parties agree to a low and high damage award that the arbitrator must follow. The reason for this procedure is to finalize a claim without the expenses and time of a jury trial. More and more cases are being arbitrated each year as the court calendars become more and more backlogged. There are no parameters for arbitrators so long as the parties agree to the ground rules.