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Watch out for nursing home arbitration clauses

Residences are often admitted into a nursing home during a very emotionally vulnerable time of their life. It is also a difficult time for their families. In some cases, residences fail to read the fine print of their contract, which results in them signing a document that can be harmful to their health and well-being.

Arbitration clauses

Arbitration is considered an alternative method to settle a dispute, settled outside of court. This process is considered quicker and more cost-effective than the court process. When signing an arbitration agreement this means you are agreeing to settle your dispute with an arbitrator, not in court.

The issue with arbitration clauses

The issue with these seemingly harmless clauses means that if there was any form of malpractice, negligence or even wrongful death, you cannot file a lawsuit. The process also takes place in private. Meaning that anything discussed remains private and will not be made public knowledge. On the other hand, hearings that take place in a courtroom are public and public information.

This means that even if there were some form of malpractice, you'd have no way of knowing. As it is not public information and your loved one could become subject to it.

Read the fine print

Arbitration agreements are usually snuck into the contract paperwork. When signing, always read the document thoroughly and be wary of terminology that is unfamiliar to you. Often times you aren't required to sign this agreement, but many unknowingly do so. It will vary by facility, but the American Health Care Association does not support nor require patients to sign an arbitration agreement.

You can always bring the contract to a law office that specializes in personal injury, specifically medical malpractice or nursing home abuse cases. An attorney can explain to what is in the contract and how it can affect your loved one.

If you feel that your loved one may be at risk or has been injured due to medical malpractice, contact an attorney. They can look over your case and provide you with guidance and support on what your next steps should be.

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Stephen T. Holman, P.A.
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