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arbitration agreement

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One of the most complex issues that individuals in nursing home abuse and negligence cases address is the legal effect of an arbitration agreement. Many facilities include these in the initial contracts that are signed when an individual enters the nursing home. As dedicated Chicago nursing home negligence lawyers, we are skilled at reviewing arbitration agreements and assisting families with determining a proper course of legal action in seeking compensation following an inexcusable injury.

In a recent Illinois appellate case, the plaintiff appealed from a lower court’s order compelling the parties to arbitration. The defendant in the action was a nursing home facility, and the plaintiff had filed negligence claims against it, alleging that he fell out of his bed on two separate occasions while a patient at the defendant’s rehabilitation facility. In his complaint, the plaintiff alleged two counts of negligence and two counts of intentional misconduct.In response to this legal action, the defendant argued that the plaintiff had signed a valid arbitration agreement at the time he sought treatment. In support of its position, the defendant included the plaintiff’s admission contract. At the time, the defendant was operating the facility under a different name. The defendant also included information that it alleged showed that the plaintiff had received a verbal explanation regarding the information that he was signing and that he was alert and aware at the time he was admitted to the facility.

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In the recent case of Peacock v. Waldeck, the plaintiff filed a complaint seeking damages for injuries she suffered in a rear-end car collision. The defendant died from unrelated injuries after the date that the plaintiff initiated the lawsuit. The trial court appointed a special representative for the defendant’s estate. The defendant moved for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiff could not prove negligence without using testimony that it deemed inadmissible pursuant to the Dead-Man’s Act.

The Dead-Man’s Act states that in any trial in which a party sues or defends a representative of the deceased individual’s estate, an adverse party cannot testify on his or her own behalf about any conversation with the deceased or about any events that took place in the presence of the deceased. The purpose of this rule is to recognize the fact that the deceased individual would not have an opportunity to refute the testimony or offer conflicting evidence. Ultimately, the law is meant to prevent the testifying party from engaging in any misrepresentations about what was said or done. There are, however, a number of exceptions to this rule, none of which applied to this case.

The plaintiff contended that the defendant’s negligent conduct at the time of the crash could be inferred because the defendant admitted that he was driving behind the plaintiff and that he had an unobstructed view of the vehicle in which the plaintiff was riding at the time of the crash. The plaintiff also argued that since the defendant lacked knowledge regarding whether the plaintiff’s vehicle was stopped at a stoplight, an inference could be drawn that the plaintiff was actually stopped.

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