In personal injury cases, people often think there are only two options to solve any dispute:  settlement or jury trial. However, arbitration may be the best dispute resolution option in some personal injury cases.

Arbitration is a type of alternative dispute resolution where the arbitrator hears evidence from all parties and then decides who wins and how damages are awarded. Most parties bring their own attorneys to the proceedings to help navigate the process and advocate for their position.

Many attorneys prefer arbitration for personal injury cases, as it’s often faster and more cost-efficient than lengthy, drawn-out trials.

Keep reading to learn more about personal injury arbitration.

1.    What are the different types of arbitration?


When arbitration is voluntary, both parties to the dispute have agreed to resolve their personal injury dispute through arbitration. Some parties may prefer arbitration because it allows them to pick an objective, third-party arbitrator with experience in personal injury cases.


When arbitration is mandatory, then arbitration is typically required in an insurance contract of one of the parties. Additionally, a judge may order that the parties to the personal injury undertake arbitration.


Binding arbitration is just how it sounds.  It means that the arbitrator’s decision is final and cannot be disputed or appealed. In other words, both parties must abide by the arbitrator’s decision.


Non-binding arbitration, on the other hand, allows the parties to go to court if they’re not happy with the arbitrator’s decision.

2.    How Does Arbitration Compare to a Trial?

Arbitration has some similarities and differences to a trial.  Let’s look at each.

Arbitrations are similar to a trial in that the arbitrator (like a judge) listens to evidence from each side and then makes a decision, awarding damages where appropriate.

On the other hand, the rules of evidence that apply to a trial don’t all apply in arbitration. In other words, an arbitrator may consider certain evidence that wouldn’t be allowed in court. Also, the evidence used in arbitration may not automatically be used in a trial (if the arbitration is non-binding).

3.    What Are the Advantages of Arbitration?

Here are some key advantages of arbitration in personal injury cases:

  • Arbitrations are confidential.
  • Arbitrations take place behind closed doors instead of in an open courtroom.
  • Arbitration is faster than litigation, helping parties reach a resolution more quickly.
  • Arbitrations can often be scheduled sooner as court calendars are backed up, pushing trials out months on the calendar.
  • Arbitrations allow for an easier presentation of evidence since certain court rules don’t apply.

4.    What Are the Drawbacks of Arbitration?

Here are some notable drawbacks of arbitration in personal injury cases:

  • Binding arbitration doesn’t allow for any appeals.
  • Depending on the insurance contracts involved in the personal injury case, the parties may be “forced” into arbitrating their dispute.
  • If the parties aren’t familiar with skilled personal injury arbitrators, picking the “right” arbitrator can feel intimidating.

5.    How Often Do Personal Injury Disputes Go to Arbitration?

Only about 3-4 percent of personal injury cases go to trial, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, as most are resolved out of court – including being resolved through arbitration.

However, remember that the insurance contract or the type of personal injury case may require binding arbitration.

How Can Hansen Reynolds LLC Help With Personal Injury Arbitration?

Hansen Reynolds LLC is available to provide personal injury arbitration services between parties in the Milwaukee, Madison, Minneapolis, and Chicago areas.

Equipped with experience as a Milwaukee County Circuit Judge, experience in private practice, and a Certificate in Mediation from Northwestern University, the Hansen Reynolds LLC Team is here to help you reach a fair conclusion to your case and function as a neutral arbitrator.

Contact us today for more information on how we can help!