Arbitration And Medical Malpractice In New York


Arbitration is a type of alternative dispute resolution which people or entities may opt to seek resolution of their disputes through instead of going to court.  This is because court can be costly, take a long period of time, and result in extra stress, expenses, and troubles.

Arbitration, however, is very different in that it is generally an expedited and faster response.  Some arbitrations can be resolved in a short as three months, whereas most will be resolved in a year.  Compared to most lawsuits taking several years, with some medical malpractice cases taking four or five years, arbitration can be a much faster result.

Arbitration is also cheaper in that the need for expert testimony, perfectly manicured exhibits, and other evidence is not necessary as there is no jury to try an impress.  Rather, an arbitration is heard by an arbitration, who acts like a judge.  The arbitrator will take evidence and hear arguments, ask questions, and look through the dispute to find what is fair and just.

However, unlike a court decision, arbitration is binding and very difficult to reverse or change once a decision is rendered.  This means that the arbitration is final and binding.  There are instances where an aggrieved party can go to supreme court to try and vacate an arbitrator’s decision, but it is incredibly hard to do and usually unsuccessful.  This is the major drawback for arbitration!

Thus, arbitration can be very good but it can also be very bad for your case.  Whether to go to arbitration instead of pursue a lawsuit in court is something that must be determined on a case-by-case basis.  In some cases, arbitration is PERFECT and it is a great opportunity for a victim.  However, in other cases arbitration would be very bad for a victim of medical malpractice.  Sometimes in arbitration you can win millions of dollars where you might not get that from a jury, but other times you can get nothing even though a jury would have.  Every case must be reviewed for it.

Of course, the other party MUST agree to arbitrate a case.  If the other party does not want to arbitrate, it will not happen unless there is a requirement to arbitrate.

YES, you can be required to arbitrate a matter!

But don’t worry, in most instance you will not have to worry about that in a medical malpractice case.  It is very rare that a hospital or healthcare provider will require you to agree to binding arbitration prior to receiving treatment.  If it occurs, usually that is in a massive surgery or in elective surgery, like plastic surgery.

Some health insurance companies may require arbitration before making a claim for damages, but this too is also very rare.