Arbitration is a form of alternative dispute resolution. What that means is that it offers an alternative, outside of court, to resolve a dispute. Increasingly in recent years, arbitration has gained favor as a tool to resolve Massachusetts personal injury claims.
Arbitration is a voluntary and mutual decision that is reached by a personal injury claimant and an insurance company. Before the actual arbitration, the plaintiff’s attorney (who represents the injured victim) and the defense attorney (who represents the insurance company) will agree on a particular arbitrator. All Massachusetts personal injury attorneys have a few favorite arbitrators who they feel comfortable with. After agreeing on an particular arbitrator, the parties must then agree on the parameters of the arbitration.
One way of doing that is to reach a high/low agreement. This is a set of numbers that control the parameters of the arbitration award. The plaintiff’s attorney will want the high/low numbers to be as high as possible, while the defense attorney will obviously want to keep the agreed upon high/low numbers as low as possible. With the high/low agreement, both parties feel comfortable in knowing they have minimized their respective risk and exposure since the result of the arbitration will be binding on the parties.