If you or your loved one has been mistreated in a nursing home, a variety of factors will determine whether you can sue the facility. If your family signed an arbitration agreement upon admission, for example, you may be obligated to settle certain disputes out of court.
Chances are the contract your family signed included an arbitration clause. Even if you don’t remember signing an arbitration agreement, you may have consented to pursuing alternative dispute resolution under certain circumstances. Although such an agreement may limit your options when it comes to pursuing damages from the nursing home, there are scenarios when a lawsuit can be filed regardless of an existing arbitration agreement. Read on to learn about a few of those scenarios.
If You Signed as the Resident’s Healthcare Proxy
If your loved one did not actually sign the admission papers, bypassing arbitration may be relatively straightforward. Because it’s so common for individuals to admit relatives to a nursing home by serving as a healthcare proxy, a precedent has actually been established regarding any subsequent arbitration.
Various judges have decided that while admitting someone to a nursing home is a healthcare decision, binding him or her to any corresponding arbitration agreement is not. In other words, a healthcare proxy cannot enter into an arbitration agreement on behalf of an incapacitated individual.
If You Have Sufficient Proof of Negligence
Arbitration agreements only cover certain kinds of disputes such as those involving a breach of contract. If you signed a contract containing an arbitration clause, review the terms closely or ask an attorney to evaluate the agreement. Chances are the contract doesn’t specifically mention instances of neglect or abuse because as far as administrators are concerned, neither is an issue at the facility.
Even if the contract uses vague phrasing that seems to encompass every cause of action, it may still be possible to sue the facility if neglect or abuse has occurred. The court only enforces arbitration agreements when they provide for a reasonable way to achieve a fair resolution for all parties involved.
Since you can’t expect the facility to propose a fair resolution after conducting an internal investigation of their own employees, a judge will likely allow the case to proceed—as long as you can provide sufficient evidence of both liability and damages, thereby demonstrating the lawsuit is not frivolous.
Call 716-855-3761 to Discuss Your Case with a New York Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
If you or a member of your family has suffered harm at the hands of an inattentive or abusive caregiver at a nursing home, contact LoTempio P.C. Law Group to discuss your case. Our team has more than 200 years of combined experience in legal practice, and we’re available 24/7 to take your call. Dial 716-855-3761 or use our Online Contact Form to set up a free case evaluation with a nursing home abuse lawyer in New York.