Preparing an Effective Case
A successful arbitration submission MUST prove or rebut two things: negligence on the part of the adverse party and the insured's incurred damages.
To help prove your negligence position, make sure your contentions address the four elements of liability:
Duty Owed — This is a reasonable, and often legal, expectation of care. Examples include, but are not limited to, obeying a posted speed limit, heeding a caution sign, or yielding of a proper right of way.
Duty Breached — Breaking an expected covenant, failing to meet the Duty Owed, causing another party to incur damages or a loss.
Proximate Cause — Causing a result; the direct or immediate cause of a loss or damages incurred by another. The actions of one resulting in the loss by another. The adverse party's negligence (or breach of the Duty Owed) was the direct cause of the loss being sustained.
Proof of Damages — Verification of the amount of money paid as compensation for injury or loss. This should also include the evidence of impairment of the usefulness or value of property. In proving that damages (or a loss) were incurred by your insured, the following items are recommended:
Repair Estimate — This is a document that tells a story. It verifies that what you are seeking recovery for is accurate.
Supplemental Receipts — Related expenses other than the physical damages, i.e., towing expenses, rental car reimbursements, etc.
Photos — Be certain vehicle photos clearly show the damages sustained.
Medical Bills and Records — Like an auto estimate, these documents verify what has been paid and that the amount you seek to recover is accurate and the result of the underlying accident.
Make sure your evidence supports your contentions. Be clear, concise, and consistent.
Article published in: February 2016 E-Bulletin