State Supreme Court Addresses Defendant’s Motion To Compel Arbitration in Personal Injury Suit

Late last month, the Supreme Court of Utah released their opinion regarding a personal injury suit that involved a car accident. A woman was driving in Logan, Utah when she crashed into another vehicle. The man and his wife brought a suit against the woman, alleging loss of consortium in addition to a traditional negligence claim.

Thumbnail image for white-semi-truck-1465662.jpgWhen they filed their lawsuit, the couple requested arbitration under a specific judicial code. This choice had a rewards cap and barred certain types of recovery, such as punitive damages. However, they likely opted into this because of the efficiency of arbitration. It should be completed within 150 days of its election. In order to opt out of arbitration, a rescission should be made within 90 days of the election and no less than 30 days from the hearing. The couple did not file this notice, yet they moved to change their election and avoid arbitration because they became privy to certain important information and wanted to add a defendant.

The defendant opposed this motion and instead wanted to compel arbitration. The lower court denied the defendant’s motion. The court went on to explain that, although the motion would circumvent the election terms, it was appropriate because of pertinent information that was discovered after the fact. In the released opinion, the Supreme Court reversed the lower court’s finding in part and affirmed in part. The Court found that the couple needed to comply with the arbitration deadlines, but it allowed them to add the additional party without mandatory arbitration.

General Arbitration Laws in New Mexico
Arbitration allows a plaintiff and a defendant to argue and dispute cases without the necessity of a full-fledged trial. This allows the case to come to fruition much more quickly than a trial, and court costs are often lower. During arbitration, a panel of arbitrators or a single individual will meet with both of the parties, hear their arguments, and ultimately decide on the case.

In many situations, arbitration arises in business contracts. However, as in the case above, it can also be elected by parties in personal injury lawsuits. As the case makes clear, it is very important that all of the parties are fully aware of the intricacies of arbitration and how important all of the mandatory filings are. Although arbitration is often favored over trials, an attorney is still an indispensable tool in this setting.

Will You Be Involved in a Possible Arbitration Hearing?

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident and wish to seek damages for your injuries, you should contact one of the experienced attorneys at the Fine Law Firm. Our office can assist clients with all stages of a lawsuit. This includes negotiations, arbitration, and trials. The experience of an attorney is crucial especially because defendants almost always have attorneys to represent them. If you are successful, you may be entitled to monetary compensation for the injuries and pain and suffering that you endured. Contact the Fine Law Firm at 505-889-FINE to schedule your free initial consultation.

More Blog Posts:

DWI Suspect Involved in Fatal New Mexico Crash Free on Bond Awaiting Trial, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, July 27, 2015.

New Mexico Woman Arrested after Arriving at Husband’s DUI Stop Drunk, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, July 6, 2015.