Maryland nursing homes typically include an arbitration agreement requirement amongst hundreds of papers that residents and their families review and sign upon admission. These agreements purport to reduce the likelihood that the parties need to be embroiled in lengthy legal disputes. However, the crux of these documents stands to protect the nursing home in cases of allegations of abuse or neglect. In many cases, Maryland nursing home abuse victims and their families will try and invalidate an arbitration clause in order to proceed with a civil legal claim. However, these cases present two-fold challenges; first, the plaintiff must establish that the arbitration clause is invalid, and then they must still prove negligence in the courts. A skilled nursing home abuse attorney can help families successfully work their way through these daunting claims.
Families of nursing home residents continue to fight against the deceptive admissions process that many nursing and assisted living facilities to engage in. For instance, a recent article described a situation where a woman’s mother passed away following a long battle with Parkinson’s disease. The woman discovered that her mother had suffered a broken shoulder without any x-rays or treatment. Further, medical documentation revealed that her mother fell at least nine times and suffered multiple urinary tract infections. These injuries led to her mother losing nearly 20 pounds. In response, the woman attempted to file a nursing home negligence lawsuit against the facility, but she was met with a pre-dispute binding arbitration agreement document. She is now encouraging families to assert their rights to decline to sign these agreements.
Are Nursing Home Arbitration Agreements Enforceable?
Lawsuits asking the court to compel arbitration are generally viewed as “favored actions.” As such, courts will lean towards enforcing arbitration agreements. Generally, the court will look to whether there is a valid agreement to compel arbitration. If so, the parties are bound by the terms of the agreement. However, despite these challenges, an attorney can help families overcome these inherently unfair and often deceptive agreements.
Maryland law surrounding this issue is continually evolving; however, some common defenses to enforcement involve filing a wrongful death claim, arguing that a signature is invalid or that the resident could not make the agreement, or even that the executing representative lacked the authority to bind the parties. Further, plaintiffs may argue that the agreement was fundamentally unconscionable or that the nursing home waived its right to compel arbitration.
Has Your Loved One Suffered Nursing Home Abuse?
If you or someone you know has died because of negligence or abuse at a Maryland nursing home, contact the attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen. The nursing home abuse attorneys at our office understand the daunting nature of these claims. We have an extensive understanding of the various laws that govern these cases, and we use our knowledge, skills, and resources to advocate on behalf of our clients. In addition to nursing home abuse cases, we handle Maryland personal injury claims, medical malpractice cases, and wrongful death claims. We can help you recover compensation for your damages and losses. Contact our office at 800-654-1949 to schedule a free and confidential consultation with a Maryland injury attorney on our team.