“Nothing in fine print is ever good news.” – Andy Rooney
How often do you sign your name without reading the contract? Most people just “assume” it’s ok to sign a document prepared by a big company, after all everyone else did.
But, moire and more companies are including arbitration clauses in the fine print area of their contracts which state if there is a problem you have to have your case settled with an arbitrator rather than taking your case to court. It’s probably not a good idea to do that.
If you sign a contract for a cell phone, there’s not much of a chance you’ll be physically injured by your phone, although it has happened. What if you sign a contract for a gym membership, and a dumbbell falls off the wall and hits you in the head, causing serious brain damage? Do you want an arbitrator to decide how much you get for the gym’s carelessness and your pain and suffering? You should read the fine print and give it some thought.
Arbitration may be binding or non-binding. If binding, the participants are forced to follow the arbitrator’s decisions, and the courts enforce those decisions. If non-binding, either party may reject the arbitrator’s decision and take the dispute to court for an official ruling. Most contracts have binding arbitration.
What Does Arbitration Mean?
Arbitration is a conference meeting instead of a court trial. They are less formal but have an arbitrator overseeing the case. Unlike mediation, decisions made during arbitration are legally binding and cannot be reversed.These are designed to bring down the costs of a lawsuit, especially compared to traditional litigation. The purpose of arbitration is to come to a solution for both parties – mostly, no party outright wins like in a trial.
Areas where you want to be particularly aware of arbitration clauses involve medical agreements. When you sign paperwork authorizing any medical procedure, it would be prudent to carefully examine the fine print and look for any mention of arbitration. A recent issue before the Florida Supreme Court ruled against medical malpractice arbitration. Please see article here.
If you have been injured due to someone else’s carelessness, negligence, or malpractice and you believe there may be an arbitration clause involved, it does not necessarily mean you lose your right to sue. It may depend on whether the arbitration is “binding” or not. Your best course of action is to consult with an attorney.
Fort Lauderdale Arbitration Lawyer
The Law Firm of Lazarus and Lazarus has been working with victims across the state of Florida for over twenty years, and we do not allow doctors, hospitals, insurance companies, or other lawyers to bully our clients. We will fight hard for your right to receive the maximum fair compensation for your losses and injuries as permitted by law.
Call us if you have any questions at 954-356-0006 and thank you.