By Jason M. Melton, Esq. Whittel & Melton
Many long-term care facilities, including nursing homes and assisted living facilities, will routinely include arbitration agreements in their admission documents. It is never a good idea to sign such an arbitration agreement.
Nursing home and assisted living companies include these arbitration agreements for their own benefit. And, many of the protections available in court are not part of the arbitration process. This could include:
- No jury
- Low caps on damages
- Limited access to evidence
- Limited or no right to appeal an unfavorable decision
- And strict confidentiality rules keeping the facility’s abuse and neglect hidden from the public.
Additionally, you may have to share the cost of the arbitration which is typically hundreds of dollars per hour, and are likely before an arbitrator selected by the facility, creating an incentive to favor the facility.
Simply stated, arbitration agreements make it more difficult for residents and their family members to seek meaningful justice through a public trial.
Therefore, when placing a loved one in a nursing home or assisted living facility, it is important to look out for arbitration agreements and avoid signing them.
Attorney Jason M. Melton is managing partner of the Spring Hill-based statewide law firm Whittel & Melton. Melton is a life member of the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum and is rated AV Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell and named to the SuperLawyers list for 2021 by Thomson Reuters. www.TheFLlawfirm.com