Arbitration Agreements in Nursing Home Contracts
Nursing home residents and their families often unknowingly sign mandatory arbitration agreements when filling out contacts with nursing homes. People are often in a stressful time in their lives because they are trying to get a loved one, who is usually a parent proper care. When you sign one, you agree to use arbitration, instead of the courts, to decide your case. This means that you limit your ability to seek justice and fair compensation for injuries caused by nursing home abuse and neglect.
Victims of nursing home abuse and neglect fare better when given the opportunity to plead their case in front of a jury. If you are in the process of choosing a nursing home for yourself or a loved one, we strongly suggest that you ask if the contract contains a mandatory arbitration agreement. If it does, we recommend that you do not sign it.What Does Mandatory Arbitration Language Look Like?
While we understand that all contracts will be different below is an example of a provision of a simple mandatory arbitration clause that may appear in a nursing home contract.
Any controversy or cause of action resulting from or relating to this contract or any breach thereof shall be settled by arbitration before the American Nursing Home Arbitrators association. The number of arbitrators shall be three. The place of Arbitration shall be Chicago, Illinois. Illinois law shall apply.
In 2009, a bill was introduced in both the U.S. Senate and House to invalidate pre-dispute arbitration agreements in consumer and employment disputes, including arbitration provisions in nursing home contracts. While this bill failed to become law, arbitration bills are introduced on Capitol Hill fairly regularly. We encourage you to contact your representative and let them know that you think that Nursing Home Arbitration bills often negatively affect the rights of victims, and that they should vote against them.Current State of Illinois Nursing Home Arbitration Agreements
In September 2012, the Illinois Supreme court ruled that arbitrations in nursing home agreements are ineffective as to wrongful death cases. The court’s reasoning was that in a wrongful death action, there can be multiple relatives or heirs who can bring an action. Without having each of them sign the arbitration agreement there is nothing to prevent one person who stands to gain from the death of an individual from filing an action in a court. More about that arbitration case and other cases involving Illinois Nursing Homes Arbitration Agreements, including how the United States Supreme Court has ruled, can be found here.How Can We Help?
If you or a loved one has suffered injury or death because of nursing home negligence, you may seek compensation in order to hold all wrongdoers accountable. Our Chicago personal injury attorneys have represented victims since 1992 and have recovered over $100 million in nursing home verdicts and settlements for clients. We have experience in interpreting nursing home agreements and know when our clients are being treated unfairly. Contact us at 312-332-2872 or 877-374-1417 or complete our online contact form for a free and confidential evaluation of your potential claim.