Placing a loved one in the care of a Maryland nursing home is never an easy choice. While nursing homes are not known for providing residents with a stellar level of care, in some cases they are necessary when families are unable to care for their loved ones on their own.
Unfortunately, the instances of Maryland nursing home abuse and neglect have recently been on the rise over the past several years. While the law allows for families of abused or neglected nursing home residents to seek compensation for their loved one’s injuries in some cases, the ability of family members to pursue these cases may be limited if the current administration reverses a rule implemented last year.
Arbitration Clauses and Nursing Home Litigation
Before a resident is admitted into a nursing home, a family member must sign a pre-admission form. Hidden among other clauses in these forms is often an arbitration clause, which prevents the family of the resident from filing any case against the nursing home in a court of law. Instead, the clause requires the family to pursue any claim through binding arbitration.
Binding arbitration presents concerns for families of neglected and abused nursing home residents, since it is often the nursing home that chooses the arbitration firm. While the arbitration firm is supposed to be unbiased, historically it has been noted that nursing homes tend to fare better in front of arbitration panels than they would in front of a jury. This means that families are often at a disadvantage in arbitration proceedings.
Last year, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), an agency overseeing federal spending, issued a rule stating that no nursing home that includes these arbitration clauses in pre-admission contracts will be eligible to receive federal funds. However, according to a recent news report, the current administration is considering a repeal of that law.
If the CMS rule is reversed, nursing homes would once again be able to include arbitration clauses in their pre-admission contracts, making it much more difficult for the victims of nursing home abuse and neglect to pursue claims for compensation through the courts. Of course, not every arbitration clause is valid, and courts have shown a willingness to invalidate nursing home arbitration clauses when they are against public policy or entered into without the proper authority.
Is Your Loved One at Risk of Abuse or Neglect?
If you suspect that your loved one has recently suffered from abuse or neglect in a Maryland nursing home, consider calling the dedicated Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. personal injury attorneys at the law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC. We have helped thousands of clients pursue compensation against the odds, fighting for what is fair and just. To learn more about Maryland nursing home abuse and neglect lawsuits, and to discuss your case with a dedicated personal injury attorney at the law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC, call 410-654-3600 to schedule a free consultation today.
More Blog Posts:
Social Media’s Role in Perpetuating Nursing Home Abuse, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, published August 7, 2017.
Family Sues Nursing Home After Failing to Revive Resident for Over 30 Minutes, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, published July 14, 2017.