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?

Article published in: March 2015 E-Bulletin