Navigating Nursing Home Arbitration Clauses
Entrusting the care of a loved one to a nursing home involves making critical decisions and understanding complex agreements. One such crucial agreement is the arbitration clause found in many nursing home contracts. At Gay & Chacker, we are dedicated to enlightening our clients about their rights and helping them make informed decisions. Here’s a comprehensive guide on nursing home arbitration clauses and how they can impact you and your loved ones.
Deciphering Nursing Home Arbitration Clauses
Arbitration clauses are often embedded in the fine print of nursing home admission contracts, surrounded by complex legal jargon. By signing such a clause, you agree to resolve any disputes with the facility through a third-party arbitrator, outside the courtroom, and not with a jury of your peers. Instead, you will be forced to live with the arbitrator’s decision.
Understanding the Implications
Arbitration is distinct from a court trial; it lacks a jury, and the arbitrator is not a judge. The decisions are binding and usually cannot be appealed absent specific circumstances. By agreeing to an arbitration clause, you relinquish the right to pursue a civil lawsuit against the nursing home, even in cases of elder abuse or neglect.
Weighing the Pros and Cons
Arbitration can be expedient and may mitigate unwarranted lawsuits against nursing homes, potentially reducing care costs. However, in our opinion, its substantial downsides outweigh any benefit. Indeed, arbitration clauses really benefit only the nursing home by avoiding a public record of the proceedings and a jury of your peers to hear your claims and to hold the nursing home publicly accountable. Arbitration clauses can allow instances of abuse or neglect to be swept under the rug or go unnoticed and unaddressed as the nursing home is under no obligation to report an arbitrated dispute, even if there was abuse or serious neglect involved. This potentially allows a perpetrator to continue committing acts of abuse or neglect at the same or other nursing home facilities; particularly because there is no public record of what occurred.
Knowing Your Rights
It is imperative to know that you are not obligated to agree to an arbitration clause for nursing home admission. It is illegal for nursing homes to insist on it as a prerequisite. We recommend meticulously reviewing all contracts and seeking the removal of any arbitration clauses present. Before you sign any nursing home contract, ask if there is an arbitration clause and, if there is, ask for it to be removed.
How Gay & Chacker Can Help
If you or a loved one has inadvertently agreed to an arbitration clause, there might still be legal recourse available, especially in extreme cases or if the agreement was misunderstood. Additionally, if your loved one was only recently admitted to a nursing home facility, they have up to 30 calendar days to rescind the arbitration agreement. The experienced attorneys at Gay & Chacker are here to assess the enforceability of the arbitration clause and guide you through the available legal options to seek justice and compensation.
Reach Out to Gay & Chacker Today
If you suspect that your loved one has been a victim of neglect or abuse in a nursing home, you may be eligible for compensation. The team at Gay & Chacker is committed to securing justice and accountability. Contact us for a consultation, and let us assist you in your pursuit of justice.