Nursing home contracts with arbitration clauses are destroying justice in America!

We have all been taught to read everything, including the fine print, before signing anything, right?  Well the same goes for that good ole nursing home down the street that promised to take good care of Grandma.  “All you have to do is sign right here, and you don’t have to read everything right now; we will work out the details later.”  Does that sound about right?  Did you ever think you might be losing your right to sue the nursing home?  

Recently nursing homes have been adding a little extra to the contract that you signed.  That little extra is called arbitration and guess what?!  You might not be paying for it now, but you will later. Arbitration is a little paragraph they add in the nursing home contract that says if the nursing home is reckless and accidentally kills Grandma, that you can not sue them.  Unfortunately, three separate families in West Virginia found that out the hard way.  In all three cases, a family member of a patient was suing the nursing home because each believed it was the nursing home’s fault that their grandmother died.  Their cases did not get very far in court.  The nursing home asked that the cases be thrown out due to the arbitration clauses in the nursing home contracts.

The United States Supreme Court said that because they had signed contracts containing arbitration provisions, they were denied their right to sue in court despite the fact that the nursing home had allegedly killed three grandmothers.  It said the contracts written by the nursing homes must be followed.  The cases would be decided by arbitrators, not impartial juries, and not impartial judges.  Many arbitration clauses in contracts specify the arbitration company that must be used.  Those arbitration companies know which corporations put them in as arbitrators and they know that their income depends on keeping the corporations happy with their rulings.  If they don’t, the corporations put someone else in the contract to be the arbitrator.  Does is sound like “the fix is in”?  It sure does because it is.  Studies have shown that some arbitration companies rule in favor of the corporations over 90% of the time.

What’s worse is once a decision is made by the arbitrator, there is no changing it.  There is no appeal process.  The arbitrator’s decision is final.  If a jury or a judge was deciding your case and the law was ignored, you could appeal the decision to the supreme court.  Not with a binding arbitration clause in a contract.  There is no appeal.  The arbitrator (knowing that he must keep the corporation happy if he expects to get more arbitration cases) can totally ignore the law, ignore the facts, and render a totally biased decision and there is no appeal.  The case is over.  Now you know why they want arbitration clauses in nursing home contracts.

Even though their reckless behavior killed Grandma, you are stuck with the decision their arbitrator makes.  It isn’t fair is it?  So I hope in the future that you read all that fine print and don’t sign anything with the word arbitration in it, no matter how good they promise to treat and take care of Grandma.

If you or your loved one is abused, injured or killed in a nursing home, it might be possible to have the arbitration clause invalidated.  Call the Scott Ray Law Firm and we will analyze the contract.  This is something you should not do without legal help.  One way or the other, don’t forget to read that fine print and, again, don’t sign anything with the word arbitration in it.

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