Illinois Appellate Court Issues Opinion Regarding Enforceability of Arbitration Agreement in Nursing Home Fatality Case

Nursing home facilities have several duties and obligations when it comes to ensuring that our elderly loved ones are safe and that they have the care they need. All too often, a nursing home fails to supervise its staff, provide adequate medical care, or ensure that patients and residents are being monitored appropriately. When this happens, residents can face serious injuries and even death. If you or a loved one suffered injuries due to a nursing home’s negligence, contact Therman Law Offices to learn more about whether one of our Chicago nursing home abuse lawyers can assist you.

Recently, a plaintiff who was the guardian of the estate of a woman who passed away filed a case against a nursing home facility alleging violations of the Nursing Home Care Act. The defendants responded to the lawsuit by filing a motion to dismiss and arguing that the resident had signed an arbitration agreement. This document stated that any disputes regarding the care that the facility provides would be solved in an arbitration proceeding.

It also stated that the resident waived her right to pursue legal action against the facility in civil court. An arbitration is similar to a trial because the outcome is legally binding, but it is different in that it is more informal than a trial. There is no jury and the parties agree that one or a number of arbitrators can make a decision about the legal outcome of the dispute.

The defendants also argued that the plaintiff failed to file the case within the statute of limitations period. The lower court denied the defendants’ motion to dismiss and denied a motion to compel arbitration. The court denied a second motion to dismiss in response to the plaintiff’s amended complaint and the defendants filed an interlocutory appeal. An interlocutory appeal is a special type of appeal that a party files before the case has been completed on the basis that a serious and potentially irreparable error has been made and appellate court review is needed immediately.

On review, the appellate court reversed the order denying the defendants’ motion to compel arbitration and the order denying the motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s lawsuit. The appellate court reviewed the lower court’s ruling and found that the judge failed to address factual and legal issues regarding whether dismissal of the action was appropriate based on the arbitration agreement. It addressed other issues in the appeal and remanded the case for additional proceedings. This specifically included issuing a detailed opinion that resolved some of the factual and legal issues around whether the arbitration agreement was valid and enforceable.

Call us now if you or a loved one has been injured in a nursing home or due to negligent nursing home care. We can help you understand your legal rights and determine the best course of action for securing the compensation that you may deserve. We offer a free consultation so that you can ask questions and learn more about how working with a Chicago nursing home abuse lawyer can help you throughout this stressful and overwhelming time. To get started, call our office now 773-545-8849 or contact us online.

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