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Nursing home abuse and negligence happens on a daily basis. Residents of these long-term care facilities and their families have been forced to settle in arbitration due to a clause in their contract. This mandatory arbitration stops residents from having their day in court and sweeps cases of nursing home abuse and negligence under the rug.
Mandatory Arbitration Benefits the Institution, Not the Resident
Arbitration involves the use of a third-party to resolve a dispute. The process is private and prevents courts from interfering. These arbitration clauses are typically found in credit card, cellphone and student loan contracts.
The lawyer (or arbitrator) is supposed to be an independent source that issues a fair and just decision, but oftentimes, a lawyer who represents the company—in this case, the nursing home—conducts the arbitration. This leaves nursing home residents and their families with no option but to settle for less than they are owed and prevents them from going public with the information.
Many nursing home residents don’t have the mental capacity to understand what they’re signing when they enter the home, but this doesn’t render the contract void. In one instance, a resident who could neither read nor sign his name was still unable to invalidate his arbitration agreement.
Ultimately, many elderly men and women in nursing homes have been subjected to neglect and abuse across America. Nursing home facilities seek to keep this suffering quiet through mandatory arbitration in order to coax more individuals and their families into signing the same contract.
Proposed Ban on Nursing Home Arbitration Clauses
In September, the Health and Human Services Department sought to do away with mandatory arbitration, stating this clause largely benefits the nursing home institution and gives little justice to the residents who have suffered physical or sexual abuse, or even wrongful death. This rule would affect all nursing homes that receive federal funding.
Nursing home facilities that have undoubtedly faced arbitration for abuse or neglect in the past were outraged and concerned with how the rule would impact their industry. The American Health Care Association quickly filed a lawsuit to prevent the ban from being implemented. The ban on arbitration was set to go into effect on November 28, but a federal judge in Mississippi decided the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services overstepped their authority and issued a preliminary injunction.
Nursing home abuse or negligence is a highly prevalent problem in the United States. Our lawyers are devoted to fighting for justice for those who have suffered at the hands of their caretakers.
If you suspect your loved one has been abused or neglected in their nursing home, please call our attorney in Florida immediately at (855) 880-4741 to schedule your FREE case evaluation. Colling Gilbert Wright & Carter serve clients in Orlando, Florida and nationwide.