Homes May Try To Limit Your Rights
In an effort to avoid full responsibility for the harm they cause by inadequate or substandard care, many nursing homes and assisted living facilities include predispute arbitration clauses, jury trial waivers, and other self-serving provisions in their admissions agreements. It is vitally important that you DO NOT AGREE to these provisions of an agreement.
What Is A Predispute Arbitration Clause?
A predispute arbitration clause is a self-serving effort by nursing homes, assisted living facilities and other businesses to limit YOUR RIGHTS in the event that they cause harm to you or your loved one. These “agreements” seek to prevent you from filing a lawsuit against the nursing home if the nursing home harms you through negligence, intentional acts like sexual assault, and inadequate care. Nursing homes and assisted living facilities that have arbitration clauses in their agreements are trying to PROTECT THEMSELVES AT YOUR EXPENSE. Even worse, in arbitration YOU have to pay for the arbitrators’ time, an expense that can run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. THIS ALONE stops many cases before they can be made.
These “agreements” also demand that you waive important rights, like the constitutional right to a jury trial, statutory attorney’s fees if there is a judgment against the nursing home, and even the right to seek punitive damages. These are important rights and they help keep nursing homes and assisted living facilities accountable for their wrongdoing.
DO NOT GIVE UP YOUR RIGHTS! If you are uncertain whether an admission agreement has an arbitration provision, ASK the person who gave you the agreement the following questions:
- Does this agreement have an arbitration provision?
- The person must tell you the truth, but many times the person will not know. If the answer is yes, find the provision and cross it out. Place your initials next to the crossed out paragraph and write “NO ARBITRATION” next to your initials.
- If the person is unsure whether there is an arbitration provision, write on every page “NO ARBITRATION” and place your initials next to it. Ask the person who gave you the agreement to initial it as well.
- Can I take this agreement to an attorney for advice?
- Ask this if they refuse to answer you about arbitration. If they balk at having their contract reviewed by an attorney, they are probably hiding something.
- Be sure to write on the agreement should you decide to sign it that you do not agree to arbitration under any circumstances.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently adopted a rule that prohibits nursing homes (but NOT assisted living facilities) from insisting on predispute agreement to arbitrate. To be on the safe side, review every agreement and paper you are asked to sign when you or a loved one is being admitted to a care facility and strike out any language that relates to arbitration.
Admitting A Loved One To A Nursing Home?
Check the nursing home’s rating with the Medicare Five-Star Quality Rating system, Nursing Home Compare. Click here. https://www.medicare.gov/nursinghomecompare/profile.html
Experienced Nursing Home Abuse and Negligence Attorneys
Konicek & Dillon, P.C., is a team of attorneys that vigorously represents victims of nursing home abuse and negligence and the families of nursing home residents who have died from such maltreatment. We have extensive experience in these cases and the investigative resources and advocacy skills to prevail.
Free Consultation With A Lawyer
You can make a difference by taking action now. Contact Konicek & Dillon, P.C., in Chicago or Geneva, Illinois, for a free initial consultation.