AF continues to perform detailed reviews of published Auto decisions in TRS in order to find actionable insights to improve the quality of filings, responses, and decisions going forward. Our most recent targeted review took a detailed look at damage disputes.
First, we looked at whether or not the damage decisions and awards aligned with the arguments and evidence. We found that arbitrators are doing a great job in this area. We also reviewed for indicators as to whether there is a benefit to using external versus internal damage experts for damage reductions. Our review found that the difference in whether or not a reduction in damages is granted is very small.
The biggest impact comes from the specificity of the dispute and the arguments. Specific disputes would be something particular to the vehicle, i.e., fender repair time or part usage. Specific arguments are unique, well-thought-out arguments relating to the subject vehicle, as opposed to copying and pasting from an audit or generic argument. Using the part usage example, a specific argument would be that a parts search was performed and an alternative part was located within a reasonable distance of the shop during the repair time frame. Specificity in the argument and dispute were twice as likely to garner a reduction when paired with supporting evidence as compared to more generic disputes and arguments.