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Ins and Outs of Medical Arbitration

Monday, October, 3, 2011

Medical arbitration provides a quicker and less expensive way for patients who feel they have been harmed by their physicians to be compensated for their pain, suffering, and economic damages such as lost wages.  In medical arbitration, the patient signs an agreement in advance of any procedure agreeing to use alternative dispute resolution in place of a lawsuit should any disagreement or damage arise.


During the arbitration hearing, both the patient and the physician have the chance to explain their case to an arbitration attorney who will issue a ruling.  The ruling will generally not apportion blame or responsibility as such, but will instead be a simple award of a certain amount of funds, or a decision that contains no award.  The arbitration attorney is not required to justify the amount or nature of his decision, and in many cases, arbitration panels decline to state their reasons. 


This preserves one of the hallmark characteristics of arbitration itself, which is the privacy and confidentiality of the parties involved.  This can be particularly useful in a medical malpractice arbitration case, because many patients will not want their private bodily details discussed in a public forum or released to the public via statements to the press.


In most cases, an arbitration award is final and the case cannot be re-litigated in court.