Kaiser Malpractice Arbitration
All medical malpractice lawyers handle Kaiser cases, but some have more experience in Kaiser arbitrations than others. We have handled many Kaiser cases, and Kaiser arbitrations.
Kaiser Permanente health plan members are subject to a requirement to arbitrate their cases, rather than sue in court. Some Kaiser health plan members are able to opt out of this arbitration requirement, due to defective member agreements which Kaiser Permanente used in the past. Depending on the jurisdiction, the odds of winning may be significantly higher in an arbitration than they would be with a jury, so long as the Kaiser Permanente case arbitrator is carefully selected. The flip side of this equation is the perception that private arbitrators tend to give lower awards in cases where they find for the person suing, due to their less emotional approach to the decision, and their hopes for future work from Kaiser Permanente. Kaiser cases were always heard by a three–arbitrator panel in the past, but the great majority of claimants have opted for a single arbitrator since the rules were changed to permit it. Despite going to arbitration rather than jury trials, Kaiser cases have virtually the same pre–trial procedural rules that apply to court cases. So even though it may appear that you can pursue a Kaiser arbitration without a lawyer, in reality this is nearly as hard as being your own lawyer in a court case.
In Kaiser arbitration cases, the selection of the arbitrator is vitally important. You need an attorney who will work hard to get Kaiser to stipulate to someone fair, or will fight hard pursuant to the Kaiser rules to get a reasonable person appointed. Often this involves rejecting people who have been appointed by the Arbitration Administrator until a fair arbitrator is named.
Kaiser Arbitration: Selecting an Arbitrator
What can go wrong in Kaiser Arbitration?
If the arbitrator selection process is mishandled, it may not matter how well the case is handled thereafter. Depending on the circumstances, it may also be possible to obtain Kaiser’s agreement to use an arbitrator who is not on the Administrator’s list. Since Kaiser is self–insured, there is no insurance carrier involved.