Nursing Home Arbitration Agreements Waive Your Legal Rights
Your parent is discharged from the hospital. The doctors tell you they need rehabilitation. While you never envisioned your Mom being placed in a nursing home, you tell yourself it is only three weeks of rehab. On admission to the facility, you are presented with a stack of papers. Buried deep within the paperwork is a binding nursing home arbitration agreement. Do not sign it, as it voluntarily waives your constitutional right to a jury trial in the event the nursing home mistreats your loved one.
What Does an Arbitration Agreement Mean in the Nursing Home or Assisted Living Facility Context?
If your loved one is abused, neglected, wrongfully injured or killed inside a facility, you have a legally protected right to sue the offending facility in court. This kind of public accountability dis-incentivizes bad corporate behavior and protects patients. If you sign an arbitration agreement upon admission to a nursing home, you are voluntarily waiving that right. This means, if your family member is neglected and wrongfully dies, you are unable to hold that negligent facility accountable in court.
Arbitration Agreements Contribute to the Silencing of Elder Abuse
Nursing home negligence is on the rise, and so are the prevalence of nursing home arbitration agreements. When something terrible happens inside a facility and a valid arbitration agreement is in place, the only recourse a family can seek is behind closed doors in a private arbitration.
In order to end the cycle of elder abuse, we must expose it publicly. As Justice Brandies stated, “sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman.” Elder abuse is a vicious cycle that is allowed to perpetuate because it occurs in silence. If we expose elder abuse through public court filings, we can disrupt the cycle and stop it from happening to the next vulnerable long term care resident.
Don’t Sign the Arbitration Agreement
If there is a blank line, don’t sign it. If the admissions person gets pushy, explain that you do not feel comfortable signing the arbitration agreement. These agreements are voluntary and are usually not a condition of admission. In other words, you should have the right to refuse.
The lawyers at Senior Justice Law Firm are civil litigators. Our practice area focuses on cases against negligent nursing homes, assisted living facilities and hospitals. This is all we do. We are perpetually breaking bad news regarding arbitration agreements to family members who come to us in the wake of a terrible tragedy due to nursing home negligence.
Bottom line is, do not sign on the dotted line!« Previous PostNext Post »