MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota. The federal government recently passed laws to ban arbitration clauses in nursing homes that receive federal funding. Many families may not even know what arbitration is before they sign a nursing home contract for their loved one. If their loved one is injured in a nursing home, an arbitration cause can have an immense impact on the family. Arbitration clauses often require families to settle lawsuits outside of court, often using judges or arbitrators selected by the nursing home. Arbitration waives the right to a jury trial, which can result in better recoveries for individuals who suffer from more serious cases of abuse. Furthermore, individuals who are required to use an arbitrator have to pay the judge, thus reducing the recovery individuals can receive to cover medical expenses and other bills. Arbitration can make it difficult for families to seek compensation for medical expenses or losses a loved one may suffer due to nursing home neglect or negligence.
According to the Star Tribune, the new federal regulations will restore the rights of thousands of Minnesota families to seek recoveries from nursing homes for nursing home abuse, neglect, and negligence. Any nursing home that receives Medicaid or Medicare money must abide by the new laws. Some who have been affected may want to speak to an illinois nursing home abuse lawyer to help their case. Even though the new rules are in effect, families should always carefully read through nursing home contracts and ask if arbitration clauses are included. It is important to understand that you are not required to sign an arbitration clause.
Attorneys, like the Law Office of Martin T. Montilino, estimate that as many as half of Minnesota’s nursing homes may use arbitration clauses. According to Consumer Reports, the new laws officially go into effect November 28th.
The hope is that the new law will protect the elderly and hold nursing homes accountable when they make serious errors or when abuse occurs. Arbitration can sometimes be done in private, while personal injury lawsuits that go through the courts go on the public record. The hope is that the new law will encourage nursing homes to protect their reputations by following the law and offering their clients a high-quality of care.
Families should know that the new law doesn’t apply to contracts signed before November 28, 2016, so it is probably wise to look over your current contract. Individuals have options if the contract has an arbitration clause. Either families can ask the nursing home to re-do the contract without the clause, or they can move their loved one to another home that will be required to abide by the new law. Nursing homes still have the right to ask families to consent to arbitration after a dispute occurs.
If your loved one has been hurt or neglected in a nursing home in Minneapolis, Minnesota, a personal injury lawyer may be able to help you. Before consenting to arbitration, contact a lawyer who can review your case and offer a roadmap forward or visit https://www.martinmontilino.com/ to learn more about your options.