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Trip & Fall - After Arbitration

Discussion in 'Accidents, Injuries, Negligence' started by Rfink2019, Apr 10, 2019.

  1. Rfink2019

    Rfink2019 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Hello,

    My 78 yr old mother fell and broke her ankle in the town tax office in 2016 after coming down a long flight of stairs and missed their being a step, off an “L Shaped staircase”.

    Medical bills totaled about $35k and it took almost two years for her to be fully healed (doctor sign off) The town municipal building was also not federally compliant on "accessibility".

    Today her lawyer, and their lawyer went to arbitration, and the arbitrator agreed on a dollar amount of $76k.

    The towns lawyer, then stated the town will not agree with the settlement, and will try to get the case thrown out ( they have 30 days apparently to do so), and will look to have the case dismissed, based upon my elder mother has no long term medical problems from the broken ankle ( after dealing with recovery for just under 2 years).

    Is this even possible that the towns lawyer ( and town) can get it to be thrown out, after arbitration?

    Based upon their lawyer saying my elder mother is no long term problems form the trip & fall.

    My understanding after arbitration the only two options are either the injured person has the option to accept the arbitrator’s amount proposed, or take the case in front of a jury ( non binding arbitration).

    Is it possible or legal, for a town to say they are going to look to have it thrown out? After arbitration?

    Never heard of such a thing.



    Thank you for taking the time to read my post for my mom.
     
  2. flyingron

    flyingron Active Member

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    You understand wrong. Your options are to accept the arbitration or take the issue to COURT (not necessarily to a jury). She should be discussing the options with her attorney.
     
  3. Rfink2019

    Rfink2019 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Hi,

    Thank you for the follow up to the question.

    I understand the arbitration process binding/non-binding ( as you have also posted) that was not my question.


    My question was after the arbitrator determines the amount, can the town ( and their lawyer) not accept the arbitrators final word, and then look to get the case thrown out, based upon them saying she does not have permanent medical problems

    Also, she has spoken to her attorney, and this is what she has told her, that their attorney ( and town) would fight this ruling by the arbitrator and look to get it thrown out.
     
  4. flyingron

    flyingron Active Member

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    It has nothing to do with binding/non-binding. Either party has the right to hear the case in court after the arbitration is over.

    The "lawyer" is not material. In the case of a binding arbitration, the parties (the claimant and the respondant) either accept the decision of the arbitrators, or they go to court. If this is a true binding arbitration, they can't just reject it. This is different from a mediation, where the panel works at getting the two parties to mutually agree on a situation. The results of an arbitration are the decision of the arbitrators and have the force of the underlying contract.
     
  5. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Yes, if the arbitration result wasn't binding.

    However, try doesn't mean will, so relax and allow the days to pass for the truth to be revealed.
     
  6. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    An arbitrator is essentially a private judge, so I'm not sure what you mean when you say that "the arbitrator agreed on a dollar amount of $76k." Did the arbitrator find in your mother's favor and issue an award in that amount? If so, then your mother will need to file a motion in court to confirm the arbitration award. Assuming the award gets confirmed, then she'll have an enforceable judgment against the city. Of course, that assumes that this was binding arbitration. If it was non-binding arbitration (generally a waste of time and money), the the arbitration award is largely meaningless if one party doesn't accept it.

    What does your reference to "the settlement" mean? A settlement is a mutual agreement between two or more parties to a dispute that resolves the dispute. If the town did "not agree with the settlement," then there can have been no settlement.

    That depends on what "get it thrown out" means. Is there a lawsuit pending?

    If it's non-binding arbitration and one party doesn't agree with the award, then litigation proceeds, and the parties can make whatever motions they want, including a motion for summary judgment (which would essentially result in the case being "thrown out").
     
  7. Rfink2019

    Rfink2019 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thank you for the time you have taken to reply to the question I had asked.

    So if my understanding of everything being said, is that "The Town" ( defendant) and their lawyers do not have to accept the arbitrators final decision and dollar amount that had been given. And that the towns lawyers can also decide to take this to court and try to get the case thrown out strictly on the fact that they said she does not have permanent disabilities. Even though she had gone through a lot of medical services, hospital stay, doctors, out patient treatments, multiple doctors, over almost a 2 year period, as per all the doctors that treated her. They ended up charging when when all the doctors, hospitals, therapy, bone doctors, were done about $35,000 with all medical services and almost two years of her life.

    Overall I would think that if the town ( and their lawyers) want to take the case to court, that it would not be advantageous move by the town (or lawyers), since structural engineers have officially stated ( as has the town engineers stated in the news/press a year after the accident, that the towns building is not up to federal building code standards & accessibility standards ( very old building late 1800's).

    I will let my elder mother know, that the town can take this to court to have it thrown out.
     
  8. Rfink2019

    Rfink2019 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    """"""""" "Did the arbitrator find in your mother's favor and issue an award in that amount? """"""""
    Yes, for $76,000 at County Courthouse is where mother's lawyer, and the towns lawyer, met with the arbitrator. and the arbitrator's final word was $76 in my mothers favor.


    """" If so, then your mother will need to file a motion in court to confirm the arbitration award. """"
    Wouldn't her lawyer perform this? My mother is 80, and would not be up to dealing with all the legal stuff/ words, processes, etc



    """ That depends on what "get it thrown out" means. Is there a lawsuit pending?""""

    My mother hired a lawyer, at the recommendation of many people after the accident at the towns municipal building. I dont know law, well enough to know if a trip & fall, would mean its an actual lawsuit. The town building does hold fault which is acknowledged by both sides.

    Do all settlements mean they automatically trigger a lawsuit?



    """" What does your reference to "the settlement" mean? A settlement is a mutual agreement between two or more parties to a dispute that resolves the dispute. If the town did "not agree with the settlement," then there can have been no settlement.""""


    The arbitration process today ( Non-Binding for my mother - No sure if that means non-binding for the town also - they do hold fault) Her lawyer, and the towns lawyer, along with the arbitrator's final word, was $76K in my mother favor. But the towns lawyer, said the town will not accept $76k, and will (take the next steps to get it thrown out) because the towns lawyer said my mother has no permanent disabilities from the accident) --- But my 78 yr old mother dealt with the ordeal, with doctors, medical services of sorts, for almost 2 years, before the doctors declared her healed.

    Overall, the town knows the building is at fault, due to age, not meeting federal and accessibility codes, standards. Its very old building.



    """"If the town did "not agree with the settlement," then there can have been no settlement.""""

    Yes, Sorry for describing the process improperly......Not sure what to call the arbitrators final word in the case/ arbitration.
     
  9. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    I suggest you say nothing about the legalities of the case to your mother.

    Your mother's attorney is best qualified to discuss the details of your mother's case.

    I've practiced law for decades, and have heard contrarian views in nearly every case I've litigated.

    Lawyers love to blab, especially if the lawyer dislikes the outcome.

    It isn't up to the town's lawyer to make the decision, that is on the elected city leaders.

    The best thing you can do for your mother is be supportive of her recovery, and offer her cheery news, rather than news of gloom and doom.

    My very first case as a lawyer was to represent my father in an age discrimination case.

    We worked that case for seven years, through the federal trial and appellate courts.

    The employer used every right available to them, as did we.

    The nature of our legal system is adversarial.

    In the end, our efforts saw my father awarded with a seven figure settlement and a very handsome pension for the rest of his life.

    Be of good cheer, let not your heart be troubled, lawsuits take time.
     
  10. Rfink2019

    Rfink2019 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    ===================================================================
    Thank you for responding to my questions.

    """" Your mother's attorney is best qualified to discuss the details of your mother's case. I've practiced law for decades, and have heard contrarian views in nearly every case I've litigated. """""

    Yes, I totally understand your words on "best qualified" as I am not trying to be a lawyer, by far. ( But I did sleep at a Holiday Inn Last night - :) )

    Overall, I am trying put forward the best effort to look out in the best interest of my mother, as she has dealt with a lot during the 3 years since the accident, and as they say, once an elder person is injured, it can spiral downward for them, and for me, I have stepped forward and have been taking care of my mother, and performing all the things she would normally do, but that she no longer can.

    Since the accident 3 years ago, she has spiraled downward physically ( common risk for all elderly what I have learned) as two years of not being able to walk properly after the accident, it has taken its toll on her mind, spirit, and mobility, strength ..I am looking out for her physically, mentally, and in light of the legal case she has. As her understanding of all the legal processes, confuses her.( and me sometimes a lot) ..I also dont want to see her being taken advantage of in any way, since there is a lot of that in the news, when it comes to people taking advantage of elderly, while she also receives a lot of scam calls that sound legit but are not, trying to get her, or any money they can scam. ( no pun to anyone else)

    I hear your words on this, loud and clear....and thank you !


    """ Lawyers love to blab, especially if the lawyer dislikes the outcome.""""

    I have been leaning toward this, based upon what details of the phone call my elder mother had with her lawyer, and conveyed with me. I am just in the process of elimination and trying to understand the legality/logic, or truth, of what their their lawyer said, after arbitration and the arbitrators result of $76k in my mothers favor, thinking that it just caused their lawyer to blurb in frustration, or if their is any foundation to what their lawyer said about getting the case thrown out, because she says my mother "doesn't have permanent disabilities." ( but did go through a lot of pain, hospitals, doctors, therapy etc etc etc for 2 years)


    To me, for their lawyer to say what they said, was either in frustration on the outcome, because I never would think a case could be thrown out, because a person has "no permanent disabilities", BUT did have almost a two year recovery until doctors signed off.....It makes no sense...because "their is" proven fault on the towns side of things, regarding the building, accessibility, and building code, and overall fault....that caused my mothers fall.

    My mother has dealt with a lot ( even myself since she lost a lot of her mobility for 2 years) and wanted to find out if it is actually legal for a case, after now 3 years for an outcome, for her to only find out, that after all this time of, doctors, lawyers, hospitals, therapy, legal discovery, more doctors, then lawyer doctors, $32k in medical costs, for her case to be thrown out because she does not have "permanent disabilities" their lawyer said, after the arbitrators final word of $76k.



    Thank you for all your words, knowledge, feedback, and positive thoughts.

    Trying to stay positive for her!
    Best Regards
    Ron
     
  11. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    I'll summarize this based upon my father's experiences.

    My dad, as many of his generation did, identified with his job/profession/occupation/vocation.

    These were the children of the depression, who grew up to fight the biggest war across the globe, demolishing two massive armies; freeing thousands of imprisoned civilians.

    My dad was happy with his verdict, but died five years later of a broken spirit and broken heart.

    He said to me, "Son, you won my case for me, you got me a wagon load of money, but where do I go to get my reputation back?"

    There were days I thought how crazy of me to fight against this massive corporation, but I persevered for dad.

    A few days before he died, we were alone in his hospital room, and he said, "At least your mother will never want for anything." I said, "She never wanted for anything, but she sure as heck will want you." We both smiled about that.

    No one can guarantee you anything.

    You are supporting your mother, just keep doing that.

    I've learned life happens whether we approve or not.

    Each day I awaken and thank God for keeping me around for another day of limitless possibilities.

    God bless you and your mother as you work through her troubles and painful travails.
     
  12. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    Yes. When one says that a party to a litigation needs to do something, it means that the party's lawyer does the thing (assuming the party has a lawyer).

    Please re-read the part of my prior response where I explained what a settlement is. It does not sound like any settlement has occurred in your mother's case.

    It's generally referred to as an award.

    It sounds to me like the arbitration may have been non-binding. If that's the case, the the arbitrator's award is meaningless and the town can reject it and force your mother to continue her lawsuit (if one was pending before the arbitration) or file a lawsuit (if the arbitration was a pre-lawsuit thing).

    Your mother needs to discuss all this with her attorney so that she knows what to expect. She is free to make you a part of the discussions if she wishes.
     
  13. Rfink2019

    Rfink2019 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thank you for all your words, experience, and positive thoughts,
    as they will surely be pass on to my elder mom.

    Best Regards
    Ron

    Thank you for all your positive words!

    And information
    Best Regards
    Ron
     
  14. Rfink2019

    Rfink2019 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Last edited: Apr 11, 2019

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