Forced Arbitration Clauses Prevent You From Suing A Nursing Home In Court for Neglect Or Abuse of a Loved One
Placing a family member in a nursing home is stressful. It can be even more traumatic when a choice must be made quickly because a loved one needs skilled nursing care after being discharged from a hospital after an illness or surgery. You must often sign a large, multi-page admissions agreement in order for the patient to be admitted to that facility. But unfortunately, the “fine print” can come back to haunt you. Many nursing homes now include forced arbitration clauses in these agreements.
What Do Forced Arbitration Clauses Mean to You?
“Nursing homes are often understaffed, creating environments ripe for neglect and abuse,” said John Dalli, a partner at the law firm Dalli & Marino. “Forced arbitration clauses allow these facilities to avoid a lawsuit for damages if a resident is injured or harmed under their care. This effectively eliminates nursing home residents’ rights to have a jury of their peers hear their case.”
Instead of suing a nursing home for damages in court, you’re agreeing that an arbitrator from an outside private arbitration company will decide the facts in your case.
But this puts you at a disadvantage in many ways:
- The nursing home is often a repeat customer for the arbitrator whose personal bias often tilts final decisions towards the facility.
- There are no public records for decisions made by private arbitrators. So there’s no way of knowing how similar claims against the facility were decided.
- A bad decision by an arbitrator is almost impossible to overturn on appeal in a courtroom — even if that decision is flat out wrong.
So What’s a Family To Do?
“Families are so stressed in these time-sensitive situations, they’ll likely just sign the contract to make sure their loved one gets into the facility. Nursing homes know that,” said Sal Marino, a partner at Dalli & Marino. “But ask a lawyer to quickly review the agreement before signing it. If you emphasize the urgency of the situation, they should be able to give you a fast, objective assessment.”
Contact Dalli & Marino LLP
Dalli & Marino, LLP has been providing top-tier representation, and we have recovered millions of dollars, for families in cases of nursing home and other skilled care/elder care facility neglect and results of understaffing, in Suffolk and Nassau Counties (Long Island), Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens, Staten Island, and Westchester County, since 1995.
Please contact our team to discuss your case, or with any questions, at 1-888-465-8790 [Toll-Free], or by completing the CASE EVALUATION Form on our Contact Page.