Illinois Appellate Court Upholds Dismissal of Negligence Complaint Against Rehab Facility due to Arbitration Agreement

Arbitration agreements often come in situations involving personal injury lawsuits. Many people do not take the time to read what they are signing and, in most situations, they do not have an option to negotiate the terms of the deal. One of the most common places that arbitration agreements arise involves rehabilitation facilities or nursing homes. If you or a loved one was injured in one of these facilities and you signed an arbitration agreement, it is critical that you speak with a diligent Chicago personal injury attorney as soon as possible.

A recent case from the Illinois Court of Appeal examined an arbitration agreement signed by a person who was admitted to a rehabilitation facility. The plaintiff alleged that he fell out of bed as a result of the negligence of the facility and that he suffered injuries as a result. In response to the lawsuit, the defendant facility filed a motion to dismiss and pointed to the arbitration agreement that the plaintiff signed. The agreement stated that the parties would arbitrate any claims of negligence arising from the plaintiff’s stay at the facility. The facility also filed a motion to compel arbitration. It also provided affidavits from two employees stating that the plaintiff signed the contract and that the plaintiff appeared to be of sound mind when discussing the agreement and signing them.

In response to the motion to compel arbitration, the plaintiff alleged that the agreement was unenforceable because there was no evidence showed that the facility was a party to the arbitration agreement. The facility had undergone administrative changes and a name change since the plaintiff signed the arbitration agreement. The plaintiff also argued that it was unenforceable on the basis that it was signed under duress and due to the unfair bargaining power between the parties.

The trial court granted the defendant’s motion to compel arbitration and the plaintiff appealed. On review, the court affirmed the lower court’s decision. Reviewing the record, it found no evidence that he was under duress at the time he signed the agreement, which constitutes a condition where someone is induced by the wrongful act of another person to make a contract under circumstances that deprive him or her of his or her free will. The appellate also concluded that despite the administrative changes, the facility was still a party to the agreement. This outcome means that the plaintiff was required to adjudicate his negligence dispute against the facility in an arbitration proceeding, which is a legally binding proceeding that does not involve a jury.

If you were injured and believe an arbitration agreement may be involved in your situation, contact Therman Law Offices’ seasoned team of personal injury lawyers today to start learning about your potential rights and options. Legal agreements can be complicated and difficult to understand, especially if you are also coping with painful injuries and serious disruption in your life. We will guide you through every step of the legal process and ensure that you receive the fair treatment that you deserve. To schedule your appointment, call us at 773-545-8849 or contact us online.