I C T

(Injury Claims Tribunal)

What is ICT?

   ICT is a tribunal that is an alternative to the traditional personal injury claims handling process that is designed to significantly reduce a claims cycle time and to avoid or minimize the ever escalating court fees and costs so as to insure a better NET result for BOTH the claimant/plaintiff and the insurance company in the shortest possible time frame.

 

   Each tribunal consists of three members on a rotating basis; one from the plaintiff bar, one from the defense bar and a neutral.

How Does ICT Work?

   The ICT protocol is designed to assure resolution of the claim either by settlement or hearing within 90 days of the exchange of the initial demands and offers.

 

   The primary mechanism is a stipulation by the parties to remove the claim from the California Civil legal system and agree to binding “night baseball” arbitration within three months or less IF THE CLAIM IS NOT SETTLED within that time frame.

 

   “BASEBALL ARBITRATION” is named after the process used in professional baseball player contract disputes. Essentially it specifies that each side to a dispute submits their “best number” to the arbitrator. After considering the information submitted, the arbitrator (or tribunal) can only select the submitted number that is closest to what they find to be the true value of the claim from the information submitted.

 

   “NIGHT BASEBALL” refers to a process where the arbitrator (or tribunal) is not told the “best numbers” in advance.   After the hearing and the award “number” is announced and the submitted number submitted by the parties that is closest to the award number becomes the final award’

 

   The ICT Tribunal for each Night Baseball Arbitration hearing will consist of three voting members: one from the defense bar, one from the plaintiff bar, and a neutral. After hearing each member of the tribunal will submit a number. The “number” submitted by the parties that is closest to the average the tribunal’s numbers will be the award “number”

Why ICT?

   Over the past number of years the legal costs and fees to prosecute the basic injury claim continues to escalate and at the same time the court budget cuts will only serve to dramatically increase the claim cycle time.

 

   The net effect for the insurance carrier is ever increasing total claim cost even if indemnity payment amounts were to stay stagnant. For the claimant the net recovery by settlement or verdict is lower, the risk is greater, and longer in coming. For the plaintiff attorney the time and financial investment becomes greater with less satisfied clients and hence fewer referrals.

 

   The ICT protocol addresses and guarantees both the cost and time issues while maintaining the integrity of the ultimate resolution for both sides.

What are the costs involved?

   The MAXIMUM potential cost for each side for the ICT protocol is $1300 if the matter goes ALL the way through arbitration. Experience shows that MOST cases will resolve just short of the arbitration hearing and in that case the maximum cost for the case would be $600 per side. (see below)

When to consider ICT?

   Either at the outset when the claim is presented or after initial demands and offers and the parties cannot agree on settlement either side could propose that the matter be submitted to ICT to avoid unnecessary costs and delays.

   Upon submission each side would pay to a fee of $600 to ICT and execute the binding stipulation provided and monitored by ICT.

 

The stipulation would contain among other things the following provisions:

  1. That the matter will resolve exclusively by the ICT protocol either by settlement or award after a Night Baseball Arbitration with the only potential recourse to the California courts to be enforcement of the award.
  2. The time for exchange of “best numbers” shall be within 90 days or less.
  3. The claimant shall be made available for a recorded statement and sign authorization form(s) for medical& lost wages if applicable.
  4. Upon exchange of best numbers the parties will exchange ALL of the information or documents to be relied upon if the matter goes to baseball arbitration.
  5. If the parties do not settle the claim after the exchange of “best numbers”, the matter will be set within 30 days for Night Baseball Arbitration before the IRT tribunal and pay an additional $750 per side.
  6. At the hearing the only live testimony would be the direct testimony of the claimant (at the option of plaintiff attorney) and the only cross examination or inquiry of the claimant would be by the tribunal.
  7. Briefs by claims rep ,party, or attorney will be only in letter form
  8. Within 5 days of the hearing IRT will advise the parties of the tribunal “number”
  9. The insurance carrier agrees to pay the prevailing “best number” to the claimant within 10 days
  10. The agreement contains a provision for attorney fees for prevailing party if court enforcement is necessary.

 

MISCELLANEOUS

   The observation over the years is that a vast majority of the claims are resolved by settlement after the exchange of “best numbers” avoiding the additional time and cost of the hearing.

 

   ICT will be available in San Diego, Orange CO, LA, Inland Empire, and Ventura Co.

 

   The parties would have the option elect to choose a “high/Low binding arbitration format instead of the “baseball” format by stipulation.

 

   Cases already in litigation could be removed from the state courts and be heard by the ICT tribunal with agreed upon modified hearing rules.

 

   ICT will remain flexible to suggestions by the parties that go to achieving the primary objectives of lower costs and cycle time.

 

For more information email davt@cox.net or phone (619) 733-5269