Each year, many people are either admitted or must admit a loved one into a nursing home in North Carolina. In either situation, a nursing home will sometimes ask a new resident to sign a pre-dispute arbitration agreement. Understandably, the contents of this type of document can seem confusing. Here’s why it can be smart to avoid signing this type of agreement.
What’s a pre-arbitration dispute agreement?
In the nursing home industry, a pre-dispute arbitration agreement gives a lot of protection to a nursing home and hardly any protections to the person signing this document. By signing this type of agreement, you’re essentially signing away any right to take a nursing home to court.
Why it’s best to avoid signing this document
The main reason to avoid signing a pre-dispute arbitration agreement is that it can take away your right to hold a nursing home facility responsible for any wrongdoing. If, for example, you were a victim of nursing home abuse or neglect, this agreement withdraws your right to take the other party to court.
Another problematic issue with this agreement is that a private arbitrator makes the final decision in any dispute. That means your case is never heard by a judge or jury. It’s also important to note that most relationships between arbitrators and nursing homes are of a business nature. If that’s the case, a private arbitrator has an incentive to look the other way or downplay when their client is in the wrong. Making matters worse, any wrongdoing uncovered in a pre-dispute arbitration agreement is almost always confidential.
Many professionals would advise against signing a pre-dispute arbitration agreement before becoming a nursing home resident. In many cases, signing these agreements places you at a huge disadvantage.