Am I Required To Sign An Arbitration Agreement With A Nursing Home?
When admitting a loved one into a nursing home, the facility will give you a lot of paperwork to sign. Tucked in among these documents is often an arbitration agreement, which outlines the manner in which disputes are to be handled should they arise in the future. An arbitration agreement requires that disputes are handled during arbitration instead of through a personal injury claim or lawsuit.
During arbitration, the two sides involved in a dispute meet with an arbitrator instead of going to trial. The arbitrator will listen to both sides before making a decision on the case. The decisions of the arbitrator are final and legally binding.
Do You have to Sign an Arbitration Agreement?
The short answer to the above question is “no.” A facility may tell you that you are required to sign an arbitration agreement before they will admit your loved one into the facility. However, it is important to know you are under no legal obligation to sign it.
In fact, it is against the law for nursing homes to require you to sign these agreements as a contingency of admission. More so, it is critical that you do not sign any arbitration agreement given to you by a nursing home facility. These agreements usually favor the nursing home and signing one may mean a forfeiture of your rights.
Why You Should Not Sign an Arbitration Agreement
There are many reasons why you should never sign an arbitration agreement and they include:
- You will waive your right to a jury trial: Juries are typically more sympathetic and understanding towards elderly residents that are accusing a facility of nursing home abuse than arbitrators are.
- Decisions made in arbitrators are confidential: Nursing homes are very fearful that news of injury or wrongful death within their facilities will become public knowledge, as this is obviously bad for business. By keeping the details of a case confidential through arbitration, the facility is under less pressure to offer a fair settlement.
- Arbitration agreements are almost impossible to appeal: If you believe the decision a judge or jury made was unfair, you can always appeal it. Unfortunately, unless you can prove wrongdoing or a significant abuse of discretion, you cannot appeal the decision of an arbitrator.
Our Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer in Tampa Can Advise on Your Case
If you suspect a nursing home of abuse, our Tampa nursing home abuse lawyer at Kohn Law can provide the sound legal advice you need, even if you have already signed an arbitration agreement. Call us today at 813-428-8504 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation and to learn more about how we can help.