What are they anyway?
If you agree to an arbitration to settle a nursing home case you are giving up the right to a trial by jury and likely the right obtain critical information you need for your case.
In our nursing home abuse and injury cases, we often see nursing home residents or their loved ones sign arbitration agreements during the admission process and without understanding what they are signing. Our experience is that often the nursing home does not explain what the document means and insists upon obtaining the signature prior to admission.
The process of admitting a loved one to a nursing home is almost always very emotional. Residents are sick and usually do not want to leave their homes. Relatives often have feelings of guilt. When emotions run high, almost no one pays attention to the fine print of an arbitration agreement.
Arbitration is very beneficial to the nursing home because the resident signs away his or her rights to access the courts and to have their story heard by a jury of their peers. Instead, decisions about the case are made by people who can be predisposed to making decisions favorable to the nursing home.
In arbitration, usually three lawyers are selected to act as the judge and the jury. Lawyers who see cases like this on a daily basis are far less likely than juries to react empathetically to the stories of abuse and neglect that we often hear. Instead they base their opinions of case value on medical bills and other economic damages.
Additionally arbitration rules usually drastically limit access to information that is critical to a nursing home resident’s case.
At Zimmet & Zimmet we always review arbitration agreements to determine whether they are valid. Some agreements can be thrown out entirely. Some clauses can be held invalid. But some agreements are upheld and the resident is forced to submit the case to an arbitration panel instead of a jury.
If you or a loved one have been the victim of abuse or neglect at a nursing home or assisted living facility ask us about the complex and frequently changing law of arbitration agreements.
Zimmet & Zimmet, nursing home abuse lawyers
Personal Attention & the Time to Get It Right