Hidden In the Nursing Home Contract . . .
By the time Sarah put her mother in a nursing home, she’d already been through a lot. She chose the best place she could afford, figured out medical costs, and had a very difficult conversation with her family.
All that was left was signing the contract, or “admission agreement.” Compared to everything else, that last part seemed pretty easy.
Sarah moved her mother into the facility and visited her regularly. But in May she had to travel for work, and she didn’t come back to see her mother for over a month.
When Sarah got there, she noticed severe bruising on her mother’s wrists – as though they’d been tied down – and more bruises on her ribs. She reported it to the managers and spoke with an attorney.
But Sarah was shocked to find out she’d signed an agreement in her contract called “mandatory arbitration.” This clause means if you’ve been injured by the company, you have to go through a separate process than a jury trial. You can’t just file a lawsuit like normal.
It turns out, Sarah’s mother had been tied down and kicked by an emotionally unstable employee. And yet, even with an injury so brutal, Sarah’s attorney had to fight like crazy to get her case seen in a regular court.
This story has a happy ending, though: with the help of a good lawyer, Sarah got her case seen by a jury. She won enough money to pay for her mother’s medical costs and put her in a much better facility for the rest of her life.
What Is Mandatory Arbitration?
This story is happening every day in nursing homes everywhere. Just about every nursing home uses a mandatory arbitration clause.
Mandatory arbitration is different from mediation, where a person tries to get the two sides to agree and settle the case. Under mediation, if the two sides never agree, the case can still go to court.
In mandatory arbitration, the decision is binding. Whatever the arbitrator says the nursing home owes is what they will pay. The arbitrator usually tries to be fair to both sides.
But there’s a big problem with that: when one side has done something horribly wrong, there’s no need to be fair to their side. Their side should be punished.
Having this clause in the contract protects the nursing home from losing a lot of money if one of its employees ever does anything horrible to your loved one. They know a jury would be very offended to hear about what happened, and so they try to keep your case as far from a jury as possible.
Sarah’s Mother Deserves Better Than This – And So Does Yours
Most of the time, people have no idea this is what they’re signing when they sign their contract. And even if they do know, what other option do they have?
An attorney can definitely help, though. Our nursing home abuse lawyers start with breaking down the arbitration clause. We show the courts that our clients couldn’t possibly have known what they were signing and didn’t have any other alternatives. Many judges are extremely sympathetic and will allow your case, despite what the contract says.
So mandatory arbitration isn’t a dead end. You do have options.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a nursing home, you should speak with an attorney who has extensive experience with mandatory arbitration.
Our Memphis nursing home lawyers know all about this clause in your contract and can help you overcome it to get the compensation you need. Contact us today for a free conversation about your case.