Friday, September 14, 2007

Arbitrating vehicle damage claims in SC

Recently I was part of a 3 person arbitration panel called to hear a property damage dispute. 38-77-730 of the South Carolina Code allows for any person who is party to a disputed property damage liability claim to submit that claim to arbitration. To make such a request, it would be necessary to get the request form from the Clerk of Court in the proper County, complete the form, and return it with a small fee ($5.00) to the Clerk.

I have seen this system work well when insurance companies are refusing to pay for damage, depreciation, loss of use or other property related damages for which the claimant has solid evidence to support. Although some Insurance companies will oppose even well documented claims, many insurance companies will, at that point, pay a legitimate claim rather than pay their attorney to oppose it in arbitration.

Although the property damage arbitration allowed by South Carolina law can be effective, because of the full and extenisve appeal which is available, it is not going to resolve every disputed claim. Even for small claims it is wise to consult an attorney early and often.

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