Many people may be unaware of a very helpful statute in RI which requires insurance companies to submit to arbitration before a lawsuit is filed. According to RIGL 27-10.3-1, any insurance policy written in the State of Rhode Island must include a provision for arbitration if the case is valued under $50,000.
This statute is incredibly helpful for difficult personal injury cases that don’t have a particularly high value. In Rhode Island, it can literally take years before a lawsuit is reached for trial and if you go the whole distance the costs can skyrocket into the thousands or tens of thousands. For that reason, it doesn’t always make sense to file a lawsuit, particularly on cases that are worth 15-25k. For these types of cases, this arbitration provision can be a lifesaver. If the insurance company is disputing liability or just making a low-ball offer, then filing statutory arbitration may be the best bet.
Our office uses this tool a great deal. When insurance companies like Allstate, Progressive and Liberty Mutual (these 3 in particular) want to make ridiculous low-ball offers by cutting the lost wage claim, cutting the medical bills and reducing the pain and suffering, my office often moves right to arbitration.