When you needed an obstetrician to get you through your pregnancy, you hopped on your computer and looked for one or depended on recommendations from friends or colleagues. At your first appointment, you were asked to sign several papers which you may not have read in full — no big deal, right? You made it through your pregnancy, but in the end, you didn’t walk away with the happy, healthy baby you envisioned. Instead, medical negligence caused your baby to suffer birth-related injuries. In your desire to take legal action against your medical provider, you learned you signed your right to do so away by signing an arbitration agreement, which is common in Oregon — now what?
Arbitration is an alternative dispute resolution method many in the medical field are utilizing to avoid going to trial for medical malpractice. It involves a panel of arbitrators being assembled to hear both sides of an argument, then that panel will issue a decision on the matter. There is no jury. These arbitrators do not have to consider precedent or follow traditional rules followed in civil court.
This may not seem like such a bad thing. It is less formal than going to trial, and it generally takes less time and costs less than litigation. However, arbitrators often side with corporate clients. If you or your child happens to be awarded compensation in the end, it may be less than you or they deserve or could get if you had been able to take your case to trial.
Is there any way around a signed arbitration agreement?
It may be possible to have the arbitration agreement ruled unfair and thrown out by taking your case to a higher court for review. In many cases, though, the arbitration agreement will be upheld. If that happens to you, don’t work through the arbitration process alone. Legal counsel can help you fight for maximum relief for you and your child. To learn more about how legal counsel may be able to help Oregon residents with , please take a moment and visit our firm’s website.