Many companies put mandatory arbitration clauses into their contracts as a way of forcing people they do business with away from the courtroom and into a boardroom where they can settle disputes quickly, cheaply, and discreetly. Unfortunately, arbitration isn't always the best option for the person who was wronged, so here are two things you should do when confronted with a mandatory arbitration clause.
Read the Contract
With contracts running into the multi-pages and full of legalese, you can be forgiven for not reading it in full when you first signed it. However, as soon as you're informed, arbitration is your only recourse, it's essential you pull out the document and read the portion that pertains to your legal rights in this area.
This is because some companies go into great detail dictating the rules governing the arbitration process, which can limit how much freedom you have to act. For instance, it's not unusual for the contract to detail how the arbiter is chosen. This can be problematic because the company will use the opportunity to pick someone who will take their side, leaving you at a disadvantage.
Other things the contract may stipulate that could impact your case are whether the arbiter's decision is binding or non-binding, whether you can appeal the decision, and who pays the legal fees.
Although it may seem daunting and disheartening to be confronted with these types of rules, knowing what they are upfront minimizes confusion and can help you formulate a legal strategy that improves your chances of getting the arbiter to rule in your favor. So take the time to look over the contract and make note of this important information for future reference.
Hire an Attorney
Even though your case won't see the inside of a courtroom, you should still hire an attorney to assist you with litigating the case. In addition to helping you understand the terms of your contract, an attorney is better able to counter any shenanigans the company may do to get over on you.
For instance, if the company attempts to hire an arbiter who is biased towards them, the attorney can expose that bias and have the person replaced with someone else who will be neutral and fair. In some cases, a lawyer may even find a loophole that lets you bypass arbitration altogether and go straight to court.
Thus, it's worth at least scheduling a consultation with a personal injury lawyer to see just what they can do for you and your case. At the very least, the attorney can review your case to determine whether it's worth going through arbitration or if you're better off saving your time and money and letting the situation go.
For assistance with your personal injury case, contact a local law firm, like Siben & Siben LLP.