One of the ways that companies are trying to avoid responsibility for their actions is by putting arbitration agreements into contracts. As reported by NPR, these arbitration requirements in contracts can end up compromising the rights of individuals who are wronged by the companies that run nursing homes. Before you sign line one of a contract, you may want to reconsider whether or not you want to have your loved one in a nursing home that refuses to take full responsibility for the level of care that they provide.
What Does “Arbitration” Mean?
Arbitration agreements generally take away your right to take a dispute to court. These often work only in the nursing home’s favor. The article quotes research that shows that people who sign these agreements oftentimes end up getting smaller settlements for problems they have at the nursing home than they would if they had taken the case to court.
There is a very tricky thing about these agreements that you need to pay attention to. Sometimes, they will come with an opt-out clause in them which gives you the illusion that you could take the case to court if you want. Unfortunately, this will end up creating a situation where it is more difficult for your lawyer to have a judge strike down the arbitration requirement.
Right to Trial
The long and short of all of this is basically that signing an arbitration agreement with a nursing home that takes away your right to go to court and have a trial over a dispute is basically signing away one of your primary rights as a citizen. When somebody wrongs you financially, harms someone you love, harms you or is negligent in another way that causes you to suffer, you should have the right to take them to court. You most certainly should also have the right to sue them for an appropriate amount rather than having to have an arbitrator decide for you what kind of settlement you deserve.
You and your loved ones have the right to safe nursing home care. If a nursing home needs to take away your rights to ensure that they don’t end up getting sued, you should probably look for another provider. There is absolutely nothing that a nursing home provides that entitles them to ask you to give up one of your rights to hold them accountable. If you have a dispute with a nursing home, talk to a lawyer, whether or not the nursing home tricked you into signing arbitration agreement.