Nursing Home Arbitration Agreements in Personal Injury Lawsuits
As families bring their loved one into a new nursing home, the last thing they are thinking about is the stack of papers that the facility is requiring them to sign. They have far more pressing consideration: health care, security, privacy, nutrition, etc. However, our group of advocates, the Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, cautions families to watch out for arbitration agreements.
These documents, or clauses within documents, force you into arbitration in the event of a dispute. This means you will be unable to bring your claim to a jury or even a judge. Instead, you must plead your case to an arbitrator that is often already in line with the nursing home. There are other substantive and procedural hurdles that nursing home arbitration clauses present.
The important thing is that families understand them and now how to avoid them. We review these topics in more depth now. For further discussion, and a free, no-obligation review of your circumstances, call our nursing home abuse lawyers in Chicago anytime at (888) 424-5757.
The Meaning of Arbitration Agreements in Nursing Home Admission Paperwork
Arbitration agreements merely mean that parties have privately decided to settle disputes outside of the Illinois court system. Generally, this is a clause, provision, or section within a broader contract or agreement. Therefore, if a party takes issue with the other, they cannot bring a lawsuit in court. Rather, they have to privately negotiate or go through the official arbitration system. Normally, disputes that implicate arbitration agreements include controversies over breach of performance, mitigation of damages, or other contractual disagreements.
Arbitration Agreements in Illinois Nursing Homes
Illinois nursing homes frequently put arbitration agreements in their much larger residency contracts. Residents and their families often do not realize they are agreeing to that specific provision because it is embedded within many other clauses and provisions.
However, they should take not, because it has large ramifications on their to seek relief if they are injured there. Specifically, Illinois nursing homes use arbitration agreements to eliminate your right to seek redress through the court system and in front of a jury. They want to get on turf that they think will be more favorable: in front of a business-friendly arbitrator rather than a sympathetic jury.
Enforceability of Illinois Nursing Home Arbitration Agreements in Negligence and Wrongful Death Lawsuits
The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act ("NHCA") nullifies any agreements that removes a resident's right to jury trial for claims against the facility. In essence, Illinois state law allows still allow victims of nursing home abuse and neglect to go forward through the legal process. Yet, the problem arises with federal law. In Kindred Nursing Centers, L.P. v. Clark, the Supreme Court ruled that federal law (the Federal Arbitration Act) preempted state laws that allow valid agreements to be dismissed simply because it waives or removes a right to file a lawsuit.
Applied here, the apparent contradiction between Illinois and federal will render the former meaningless. Plaintiffs should expect that their agreements to arbitrate disputes with nursing homes will be enforced due to federal preemption precedent.
Illinois Nursing Home Arbitration Agreement FAQs
What Should I do Before I Admit My Family Member to an Illinois Nursing Home?
Before signing an agreement or contract with an Illinois nursing home, speak with an experienced law firm. They can make sure you don't sign any of your rights away and put you and your family in the most secure position possible.
Can I Still Obtain Compensation Even if I Signed an Arbitration Agreement With an Illinois Nursing Home?
Yes, plaintiffs can still recover compensation in Illinois for nursing home abuse even if they signed an arbitration agreement but the manner and method will be different. The setting will probably be in front of an arbitrator who will most likely be pro-nursing home. The compensation available will most likely be more limited than what is available in court. Therefore, it is crucial not to sign an arbitration agreement prior to entering an Illinois nursing home.
How Much Would it Cost Upfront to Bring a Case an Illinois Nursing Home?
Nothing because capable law firms like ours work on contingency so that we can get to work for you and you do not have to worry about a dime of expenses until we secure an award or settlement for you. Our team has the resources, experience, and commitment necessary to make sure your case has the best chances as possible of winning! You deserve no less.
Can I Still be a Claim Even if My Loved One Died in an Illinois Nursing Home?
Yes, Illinois law allows families to bring wrongful death cases against nursing homes if their conduct caused or substantially contributed to the death of their residents. This liability extends to persons working there and third parties that operate within the facility as well. These claims can reimburse aggrieved families for their pain, sorrow, and costs that the tragedy caused.
Speak With Our Nursing Home Lawyers Regarding Arbitration Agreements
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers works with families considering nursing home options. We help them evaluate the agreements they must sign prior to moving their loved ones into such facilities. Our dedicated team helps them analyze these contracts so that they do not lock themselves into bad situations. Then, if trouble arises, our lawyers bring claims on their behalf to recover for nursing home abuse and neglect. Call us today at (888) 424-5757 to see what you can do. Take action to protect yourself and your loved ones.