Nursing Home Arbitration Clauses May Be Outlawed

A loved one is going into a skilled nursing facility. The admissions director forces the family to sign an agreement that they can’t sue the nursing home for mistreatment or negligence–that the only remedy if the nursing home injures or kills their loved one is arbitration, not court. In arbitration, the case is decided by a panel of three lawyers, and many times the deck is stacked against the victim.

In fact, a study has shown that abuse and neglect victims lose arbitration cases twice as frequently as they do in court. That’s why the nursing homes force you to sign them.

Help may be on the way. The Federal Department of Health and Human Services recently passed a rule that prevents nursing homes that receive federal funding from resolving disputes by arbitration. A courtroom and a jury will be the way to go.

As a lawyer who has handled hundreds of nursing home cases, both in arbitration and in jury trial, I can tell you categorically that jury trial is better. The only way to get justice is to have six of your peers listen to what happened and deliver a verdict.

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