Moving an aging parent or loved one into a nursing home can be a difficult and stressful time. You’re likely anxious to get mom or dad finally settled. Before you get ready to sign those admissions papers, though, watch out for mandatory nursing home arbitration clauses hidden within all the fine print. Otherwise, you may not even realize it’s there and sign away your right to take the nursing home to court in the event something tragic happens.
Nursing home arbitration clauses are becoming increasingly common in nursing home contracts, but they are almost never in a resident’s best interests. Here are some of the hidden risks of nursing home arbitration clauses:
- You lose your right to take your case to court, even in the case of serious injury or death
- It’s expensive – you may have to pay a share of the arbitrator’s fee on top of hiring an attorney
- The amount you are awarded, if you’re able to recover at all, will likely be less than if your case went to trial
So what’s the law in Massachusetts? One cannot be forced to sign a nursing home arbitration clause as a condition of admission. Though they are generally enforceable, it depends on who signed the papers and whether they had the authority to do so.
The bottom line is, it crucial that you have an attorney review the admissions papers with you first. An attorney can help understand what you’re agreeing to and determine what’s in your best interests. If you do nothing else, politely decline to sign the nursing home arbitration clause paperwork. Contact Attorney Kristina Vickstrom at 508-757-3800 to schedule an appointment today.
[photo credit: MAShomecare.com]