Court Ordered Arbitration Award Can Be Voided Within 30 Days
You received an arbitration award in your court case. But you are dissatisfied with the amount. Or, maybe, the arbitrator awarded you zero. Is there anything that you can do?
Was the arbitration award made pursuant to court-ordered arbitration under the New Jersey Court Rules? If so, you can void the arbitration award, if you act in time. First, a little background.
In New Jersey, most civil (non-criminal) cases filed in court are subject to mandatory arbitration. This includes most personal injury cases. The court will order the parties to appear before an arbitrator for a decision on the case. This arbitration will occur well into the case. First, the parties get a chance to investigate the facts. As part of the investigation, witnesses can be required to give testimony under oath.
Only then will arbitration be scheduled. The arbitrator is generally a lawyer. At the arbitration, the client is not required to be present. The lawyer can present evidence based upon transcripts of testimony and other written documents. However, many lawyers will have their clients present. This allows the arbitrator to hear from the client directly. A favorable impression can go a long way. The whole arbitration usually takes less than an hour.
After hearing the evidence, the arbitrator will make an arbitration award. The arbitrator can award a particular dollar amount, or $0. The award becomes binding after 30 days.
However, before 30 days expire, either side can file papers which will void the arbitration award. If the award is voided, the case is scheduled for a trial.
Nonetheless, this procedure only applies to a mandatory court-ordered arbitration under the Court Rules. Rulings in other types of arbitration are generally binding once made.
Here’s The Take-Away.
Accordingly, when you choose an attorney for your personal injury case, choose wisely. Look for someone with over 25 years of experience. The court rules are very complicated. You need an experienced practitioner who understands them.