For years, large corporations have been using a little known federal law to protect themselves from victims seeking justice. The Federal Arbitration Act, and state laws that mimic it, are used by nursing homes to compel victims to pursue their claims by a lawyer, rather than a judge, who is oftentimes paid directly by the nursing home and depends on the nursing home’s business for his or her livelihood. You can read about victims of arbitration clauses at TakeJusticeBack.
As these clauses, which appear in the nursing home’s paperwork without ever being explained to the residents, are starting to get the attention they deserve. Minnesota’s attorney general is encouraging the federal government to protect the rights of nursing home residents by making sure they do not sign away their rights to take disputes with the facility to court. For some facilities, waiving the right to legal action is presented as a separate document, while other facilities bury the agreement in the lengthy, complicated admissions paperwork. Many facilities have mandatory arbitration clauses as part of their admissions contract.
Families must sign many documents when someone enters a nursing home facility. It is often a stressful and overwhelming experience, making it easy to miss hidden and well-worded clauses designed to protect the interests of the facility. When signing the paperwork for admission into a nursing home facility, many do not realize that they are also signing an arbitration agreement. It is not until the future when a family wishes to make a wrongful death or resident neglect claim that they realize they cannot take their claim to court.
Large corporations claim that arbitration is used when two parties cannot reach an agreement on a given issue and instead find an impartial arbitrator to make the decision. Both parties agree that the arbitrator’s decision is binding. This process allegedly saves time and money as the case does not go to court. However, statistics show that when parties are forced into arbitration as opposed to the judicial system, the results are skewed against the victims. The process takes longer and is often times more expensive than the victims families can afford, leaving them without any recourse when a nursing home does wrong.
Nursing home residents and their families deserve to experience excellent long-term care. In the event of a wrongful death or incident of abuse or neglect, it is important that residents and their families have retained their right to bring the issue to court. If you wish to learn more about arbitration agreements used by nursing home facilities, contact Thomas Law Offices for more information.