Nursing homes and assisted living facilities often require residents to sign contracts that contain binding arbitration provisions in them.
Arbitration is a dispute resolution method that is an alternative to litigation in a court of law. In arbitration, there are no juries, there are no judges.
Also, there is no discovery, a procedure in normal lawsuits where each party is required to provide documents or testimony. This means that the nursing home can more easily keep secret facts that are damaging to them.
Nursing homes and assisted living facilities use arbitration because denying residents access to the civil justice system reduces the risk of large verdicts. Studies show that less money is awarded in cases where there is a valid arbitration agreement. Also, since no appeals are allowed, the process is often less costly for them.
Most importantly, while trials are conducted in a public courtroom and are a part of the public record, arbitration takes place in private and are generally kept confidential. In other words, consumers will have a difficult time researching how many claims have been made against the facility.
If your loved one has been injured in a nursing home or assisted living facility, and you are being told that you must arbitrate the matter, please feel free to call and speak to one of our experienced injury lawyers today.