Illinois Appellate Court Denies Motion to Compel Arbitration in Nursing Home Wrongful Death Case

Few things are more painful than learning that your loved one suffered abuse and neglect while in a care facility, especially if it leads to his or her unfortunate death. The compassionate and responsive Chicago nursing home abuse lawyers at Therman Law Offices are available to discuss your potential claim against the care facility and/or individuals who are responsible for your loved one’s harm. Although no amount of money can truly make your family whole again after an unnecessary and avoidable loss, it can help ease the financial burden associated with the situation. Contact us today to learn more about your rights and potential options.

In a recent case, the estate of a woman who died at a nursing home as a resident brought a claim against the facility alleging that the operators of the facility were negligent in causing her death and also caused her to suffer before her passing. More specifically, the estate alleged that the facility failed to provide appropriate care and that this resulted in a broken hip.

The defendant responded to the case by filing a motion to dismiss and compel arbitration of the dispute and attached a copy of the voluntary arbitration agreement that the decedent signed when she was admitted. The estate argued that the woman did not have the appropriate mental capacity to enter into the agreement when she signed it. The court rejected this argument and entered an order compelling arbitration of some of the claims in the case. It stayed the wrongful death claim until the arbitration was completed.

The estate filed a motion to reconsider and offered medical records showing that the woman suffered from several ailments and was taking many medications at the time she signed the arbitration agreement. The court indicated that although the evidence was helpful, it asked the court to make a medical analysis and determination about the effect of those conditions and drugs on the decedent’s mental capacity. It asked for some kind of facts or affidavit that could provide a professional medical opinion. The plaintiff filed an affidavit from a doctor sometime thereafter explaining how the drugs and conditions altered her mental capacity.

The court eventually vacated the order compelling arbitration and found the medical evidence sufficient to show that the decedent did not have the appropriate mental capacity. The defendant challenged this on the basis that the court should not have let the plaintiff file the affidavit, but the appellate court rejected this argument and affirmed the lower court’s ruling. The affidavit contained an admissible expert opinion on the decedent’s mental state that appropriately relied on her medical records.

At Therman Law Offices, we understand how stressful and disruptive any type of personal injury or sudden loss can be for you and your loved ones. Navigating the legal system at the same time is not something that you should have to do alone. Our team offers a free consultation to help you learn about your rights and whether we can assist you. Call our experienced team of Chicago nursing home abuse lawyers today at 773-545-8849 or contact us online to get started.

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