October 2017 E-Bulletin for Arbitrators

This month's E-Bulletin topics include:

  1. Electronic Proofs of Damage in Arbitration
  2. Evidence Considerations - Detailed Statements
  3. Member Feedback… Thank You, Arbitrators!
  4. Coming Soon…
  5. NASP 2017 Annual Conference—Deep in the Heart of Subro

Electronic Proofs of Damage in Arbitration

Image of a dollar sign on a circuit boardMany members have reduced costs by replacing paper transactions with electronic methods, for example, by replacing paper draft payments with electronic payments. Towing and rental are two of the most common payments that have seen a shift from paper to paperless.

Unfortunately, there has been some confusion surrounding the validity of electronic proofs in arbitration. It is important to understand that these transactions do not involve a traditional bill, because the member has a direct relationship with the vendor that supports electronic payments.

AF’s Guide for Arbitrators addresses these payments (Page 7, “Electronic Proofs of Damage”) as follows:

“…It is common for the Applicant to provide electronic proof of payment without the corresponding bill. Knowing that the Applicant does not possess a traditional bill due to its electronic connection with certain vendors, these proofs of payment will have to be accepted also as proof of damages.”

To avoid unnecessary returned decisions or Post-Decision Inquiries, please remember that electronic proofs of payment must also be accepted as proof of damages.
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Evidence Considerations - Detailed Statements

PImage of a young man on a cell phone in front of a car accidentart 2 of the Evidence Considerations Series

The key to prevailing in arbitration is supporting contentions with solid evidence. With that in mind, AF has created a series of articles with tips and suggestions to help you when considering different types of evidence. This month’s article focuses on statements. Read Part 1 of the Evidence Considerations series about scene photographs.

The form in which a statement appears does not necessarily matter as much as what it contains. To be useful in arbitration, a statement should contain specifics about the occurrence from a relevant and credible party.
When first reading a statement, consider how the individual who provided it was involved in the occurrence. The drivers involved in a crash are obviously relevant, but what about a passenger in one of the involved cars as a witness? Look carefully to determine the relationship between passenger and driver to determine if the passenger has a personal interest in the outcome of the claim. A statement provided by a passenger is not automatically biased. For example, a passenger taking a ride-share may not have a personal interest in the outcome of a collision subrogation claim.

For statements labeled as a witness statement, determine if the person actually observed the event. If not, the individual cannot add value to events that led up to the occurrence; however, they could add value (res gestae) if they have overheard an exchange between the drivers made immediately following the accident. Also, consider whether the witness is acquainted with one of the involved parties. The nature of the relationship or lack thereof will impact the credibility of the witness and, in turn, the overall weight of the statement. Commentary on relevance and/or credibility of evidence is important to help members understand the decision.

Finally, many disputes involve ‘driver versus driver’ scenarios in which the respective driver statements conflict. As you work toward a resolution, determine if there is something in either of the driver’s statements that makes one more credible than the other. For example, one statement lacking substantive detail or consistency with the other pieces of submitted evidence may be less credible, and therefore may be weighted less than the other statement. If the evidence as a whole simply does not support one version over the other, neither party has met the preponderance of evidence standard to prove its case.

See next month’s issue of the E-Bulletin for Arbitrators for Part 3 in our Evidence Considerations Series: Police Reports.
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Member Feedback… Thank You, Arbitrators!

Thank YouThe following is recent member feedback on decisions. Kudos to all on providing the high quality decisions our membership values and appreciates.

“I liked the manner in which the arbitrator actually considered all of the evidence. Everything that we submitted was taken into consideration. The same thing with the adverse carrier. They looked at everything in clear detail and made a clear, rational decision based upon the facts that they were presented with. It seems like he did look at both sides and made a decision based on the evidence that was presented.”
Thank you, Arbitrator Richard Digangi!

“The explanation for the decision was very thorough, so I understood the rationale very well.”
Thank you, Arbitrator Anthony Roth!

“The arbitrator did go into explanation on statements and the evidence that he reviewed, and it was helpful for me to understand why the arbitrator ruled the way he did.”
Thank you, Arbitrator James Weingart!

“Everything was very detailed, which helped me understand everything a lot better.”
Thank you, Arbitrator Stephanie Varner!

“I like the detail that they provide. I'm an arbitrator too. I like that—especially on damage disputes—he pointed out what they didn't dispute.”
Thank you, Arbitrator Scott Beltrani!

“I like the details that they put in for their explanation of why they made their decision. I feel that they went deep into it, to really understand what the problem was, and explained why they made their decision.”
Thank you, Arbitrator Janet Sano!
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Coming Soon…

Coming SoonGuess what AF is doing! We have begun work on updating our testing and certification website! Our goal is to improve our members’ experience during the certification and testing process. Following the transition on November 30, the testing site will be down for a period of time.

If you are in the process of becoming an arbitrator, please ensure that you finish testing by November 30, so that the transition is a smooth one. Incomplete tests will have to be restarted in the updated website. Your cooperation is appreciated!
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NASP 2017 Annual Conference—Deep in the Heart of Subro

NASP logo for Deep in the Heart of SUBRONovember 5‒8, 2017
JW Marriott ‒ Austin, TX

Be sure to visit us at Booth 307 or attend one of our sessions, “Total Recovery Solution (TRS)” to be held Monday, November 6 at 12:30‒1:30!

Visit the NASP website to register, select an exhibit booth, make hotel reservations, and download conference brochures.
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