November 2017 E-Bulletin for Arbitrators

This month's E-Bulletin topics include:

  1. Thank You, Arbitrators!
  2. New Arbitrator Training Courses Offered!
  3. Evidence Considerations: Police Reports
  4. New Testing and Certification Website Launch Postponed
  5. Member Feedback… Thank You, Arbitrators!

Thank You, Arbitrators!

Thank You, Arbitrators!

In this season of thanksgiving, we want to thank our member arbitrators for your continued efforts in writing quality decisions and hearing cases.
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New Arbitrator Training Courses Offered!

Image of a three business people looking at a computer screenHave you been asked to serve as a member arbitrator and have little or no experience with AF and intercompany arbitration? Or do you simply want to broaden your knowledge of intercompany arbitration and the process? If yes, then our new course is for you!

Our AF 101 introductory course for new arbitrators reviews the Agreements (who can participate, what types of disputes are resolved and excluded) and provides an overview of a case path and some of the common actions by filers and responders including affirmative pleadings and defenses, deferments, and disputing damages. Enroll in a session on our website.

Our AF 201 intermediate course was designed for arbitrators who want to increase their knowledge of arbitration from basic to intermediate. Learn practical handling tips and considerations for specific case scenarios including Affirmative Pleadings and Affirmative Defenses, liability admissions, and awards that involve an adjustment. Enroll in a session on our website.
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Evidence Considerations: Police Reports

PImage of a witness statementart 3 of the Evidence Considerations Series

If the police responded to the scene of an accident, in most cases the police report will be viewed as a vital piece of evidence in proving liability. A party will certainly want to include a copy of the report if it favors its liability position. If the report is adverse to a party’s position, it may attempt to cast doubt on the officer’s findings by pointing out potential oversights such as: 
  • Failing to speak to a witness or capture the witness’ version accurately and completely 
  • Failing to use physical or otherwise independent evidence to reach an opinion regarding fault
  • Failing to document each driver’s account in the narrative or with written statements
Police officers rarely actually witness accidents. They are, however, trained to investigate including taking statements from each driver and any witnesses and analyzing road debris, skid marks, light sequence, and damage to the vehicles.

When a party argues that the police officer "did not witness" the accident, do not simply disregard the report. Review the police report for its accuracy and consistency in regard to the contentions and other evidence submitted by the parties. For example, was the police report "phoned in" and represents only one driver's version of the accident or was it written at the scene? Does it include statements taken from each driver? Did the officer note his or her observations regarding damage, scene location, debris, witnesses, etc.? Were any contributing factors noted?

The parties are free to refute any of the officer's findings on the report; however, simply arguing that the officer did not witness the accident is not valid. Stating something like, "police report cited Beta for following too closely; however, review of Alpha and Beta statements and the scene diagram do not support this" would be more appropriate. Alpha might be disappointed with this comment, but it would be more disappointed if its evidence was not considered at all. If the Respondent states the police report statement given by the Applicant is not consistent with the recorded statement provided to the Respondent, you would need to clarify how they differ and what conclusion you drew from the inconsistency.
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New Testing and Certification Website Launch Postponed

AF continues to diligently work on updating our testing and certification website. To better serve our members, we have postponed the transition to the new testing and certification website until Spring 2018. Thank you for your continued support!
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Member Feedback… Thank You, Arbitrators!

Image of letter blocks that spell feedbackThe following is recent member feedback on decisions. Kudos to all on providing the high-quality decisions our membership values and appreciates.

“How well the arbitrator weighed the evidence. He did an excellent job applying the real approximate cost to this claim.”
Thank you, Arbitrator Chris Srogota!

“She gave a good description as to the reason for her decision.”
Thank you, Arbitrator Jessica Brimberry!

“This was a very confusing case with multiple vehicles involved. It was a multi-vehicle pileup. Her final decision was appropriate for what actually happened in the accident.”
Thank you, Arbitrator Rikki Greggo!

“The decision was very fair and well-explained, so that you really understood how he determined the answer. It was fairly timely, too. I didn’t wait several weeks beyond the hearing date.”
Thank you, Arbitrator Michael Marshall!

“The arbitrator referenced all of the evidence that both parties submitted and was taken under consideration, so writing that, that tells me that yes, she looked at everything and everything was taken into consideration with her decision.”
Thank you, Arbitrator Charissa Phillips!

“Under ‘what evidence caused you to render this decision,’ the arbitrator took the time to explain how she arrived at her decision.”
Thank you, Arbitrator Frenchelle Thompson!
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