March 2015 E-Bulletin

This month's E-Bulletin topics include:

  1. Damage Dispute Only... Are You Sure?
  2. File the Right Damages in the Right Forum
  3. Don't Miss It! NASP Subrogation Litigation: Skills and Management Conference

Damage Dispute Only... Are You Sure?

You submit a demand to the adverse carrier seeking payment of your damages, and the carrier only agrees to a partial settlement. Or maybe the adverse adjuster simply "drops" you a partial payment without any negotiation.

You file arbitration to recover the balance of the damages thinking you are simply filing a damage dispute. You note that a partial payment was received from the adverse carrier and present arguments to support the additional damages that were paid. You think the sole issue for the arbitrator will be the amount of damages pending. Well, maybe not.

If the Respondent answers the filing and enters 100% in the "Percentage of liability admitted" field and only disputes the remaining damages, then, yes, the sole issue for the arbitrator to resolve is damages.

Screenshot of 'Percentage of liability admitted' screen

However, some Respondents might dispute liability if they recognize that the Applicant has not addressed it in the contentions or with evidence. This is true even if the majority of damages have been paid and liability appears to have been conceded.

For this reason, it is important for an Applicant to always either support liability in its initial filing or amend the filing after receipt of the response, based on the Respondent's arguments.

Regardless of what type of dispute you, as the Applicant, believe you are filing, the responding party is the one that establishes the issues in dispute. Is liability admitted? Are damages disputed?

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File the Right Damages in the Right Forum

Image of two options with one selectedKnowing what damages should be filed in each forum helps ensure prompt resolution of claim disputes. Filing damages incorrectly can cause unnecessary delays.

When a filing includes damages from different forums, the arbitrator will award only the forum-appropriate damages. This is true even if the Respondent does not assert an affirmative defense regarding the jurisdictional issue. For example, a fire starts in a vehicle causing damage to the vehicle as well as the garage it was parked in. The Applicant, that insures both the vehicle and home, submits a Property Subrogation Arbitration filing and includes both the vehicle and property damages. When the case is heard, if the Applicant proves its case, the Property Subrogation arbitrator will award only the Property portion of the damages and not make a decision on the Auto portion of the presented damages.

Once the decision is published, the parties will be free to, and are strongly encouraged to, settle the unresolved vehicle claim based on the Property Arbitration liability decision or the Applicant may file an Auto Arbitration to recover its automobile damages.

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Don't Miss It! NASP Subrogation Litigation: Skills and Management Conference

NASP Conference 2015The Meritage Resort — Napa, CA
Mar. 19-20, 2015
Register today!

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