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.
The lower court granted the defendant’s motion and denied the plaintiff’s motion for reconsideration, essentially requiring the plaintiff to seek compensation and dispensation of the legal matter through arbitration. The plaintiff appealed, and the defendant filed a motion challenging the appeal, stating that the appellate court lacked jurisdiction, which the appellate court initially granted. The plaintiff appealed again, and the appellate court allowed it as an interlocutory appeal.
On review, the appellate court affirmed the lower court’s order compelling enforcement of the arbitration agreement. The court rejected the plaintiff’s assertion that he was under duress and had no choice but to accept the arbitration agreement term. It also noted that the plaintiff was provided with ample notice regarding the arbitration agreement and that he did not protest the arbitration provision or say that he would have refused to sign it. Finally, the appellate court noted that the arbitration agreement stated clearly above the signature line that a patient cannot be required to sign the arbitration agreement to receive treatment.
If you were harmed in a medical facility such as a nursing home and signed an arbitration agreement as part of your admission, you should speak to a knowledgeable and committed personal injury lawyer regarding your legal rights and options. While you are coping with the pain and stress surrounding the situation, we will investigate your legal rights and assist you in finding a strategic course of action. We have proudly served individuals and families throughout the greater Chicago area. To schedule your free consultation, call us at 773-545-8849 or contact us online to get started.