If you or a loved one suffers significant injuries at the hands of a negligent healthcare provider, you have the right to seek full compensation for your damages. While many individuals take their issues to court, you also have the option of using an alternate method for resolving your dispute: arbitration. This option can help you work toward settlement, with potentially less stress and time.
Arbitration is a legal process in which all parties agree to have their case heard by an impartial party outside the courts, but is similar in many ways to a courtroom trial. The Illinois Health Care Arbitration Act subjects arbitration to many rules, such as:
- Arbitration cannot be a condition imposed by providers before rendering healthcare services.
- All principal parties in the case must agree to go to arbitration and be present during the proceedings.
- Arbitration does not eliminate the rules or processes involved in courtroom trials, including adherence to the statute of limitations, presenting evidence, cross-examination of witnesses and representation by an attorney.
- The decision of the arbitration judge is binding.
- Plaintiffs must receive a copy of the resulting healthcare arbitration agreement they signed and re-affirm it. Otherwise, the agreement becomes void.
While arbitration helps victims of medical malpractice avoid overcrowded court dockets to help resolve their cases more quickly, the process may not be the right choice for all circumstances. An experienced Illinois medical malpractice lawyer can help you understand the advantages and disadvantages of using arbitration to settle your issues. A clear understanding of how the process applies to your unique situation can help you make an informed decision about how to proceed.