The Case for Not Signing That Nursing Home’s Arbitration Clause
Caring for an aging loved one involves various difficult, important decisions. Often, many families decide that nursing homes are their best option. But what happens if the professionals you entrust with your family member’s well-being are responsible for their untimely death? In some cases, you may not be able to challenge them in court.
One of our clients found themselves in this dreadful situation. Not only had a nursing home’s negligence killed our client’s mother, but the facility denied any wrongdoing. To make matters worse, an arbitration clause in the contract prevented the family from seeking justice in court. Despite this, firm partner Evan Jones took the case to arbitration, proved the nursing home committed malpractice and secured our client an arbitration award of $617,295.24, one of the largest nursing home arbitration awards in the State of Georgia.
The family’s ability to pursue true justice came down to an unnecessary arbitration clause.
The Challenge: Signed Arbitration Contract
A growing trend among nursing home facilities is to include an arbitration clause in their contracts. Should a dispute arise, these clauses require the two parties to settle the conflict outside of court. By contractually agreeing to arbitration, you waive your 7th amendment right to a jury trial for civil cases in all courts. Should something happen to your loved one while in the nursing home’s care, you can’t take the facility to court.
What does this mean for the nursing homes?
With no ability for families to sue, nursing homes can absolve themselves of responsibility and prioritize profits over the quality of their residents’ care.
The Trouble: Resident’s Death
While under the facility’s care, our client’s mother (who also had Alzheimer’s) suffered from bilateral fractures of her femurs, which the nursing home never reported. A full day later, the untreated fractures led to respiratory distress, sending her to the hospital. While there, the care staff discovered a hip separation and fractures so severe that she was unfit for surgery. Her condition worsened, and she languished in pain until her untimely death 22 days later.
Throughout the experience, the nursing home denied any responsibility. They failed to record the accident and even made up information they reported to the state. They blamed others for her injuries, including the resident herself and the EMT who came to help her. Further, they never completed their own investigations of the incident, stating “no answer” for the cause of her injury.
Not believing the nursing home’s stories, our client sought justice. In order to soundly navigate the case, they contacted BBGA for dependable legal guidance.
The Goal: Justice
Upon representing our client, we scrutinized their contract and discovered they’d already signed an arbitration clause when admitting their loved one into the nursing home. With their right to a civil case waived, we knew we had to pursue justice as creatively as possible.
By analyzing the case from all angles, we found flaws and gaps in the nursing home’s story beyond denying responsibility. Hired medical experts helped us confirm the injuries indeed resulted from negligence. We were even able to prove the nursing home had altered records to cover up any wrongdoing.
In short, we worked tirelessly on behalf of our client to help them pursue the justice they deserved.
The Result: Largest Arbitration Reward in Georgia
Our team came together to help ensure the best legal outcome for our client. By proving the injuries occurred as a result of the facility’s treatment, our client received more than $600,000.
Though we helped them find closure, the arbitration clause deprived the family of their day in court, and the opportunity to have a jury hold the nursing home accountable.
The Takeaway: No Arbitration Clauses
Remember, you don’t have to waive your 7th amendment right to a trial. The law doesn’t require you to sign arbitration clauses when admitting loved ones to nursing homes.
If you have a loved one who’s been injured in a nursing home, call us today at 866-354-3544. We can help you understand your rights and the legal opportunities you have to pursue justice.