In many situations when patients move to nursing homes, the decision to move happens quickly. A stroke or another serious medical incident causes the senior to become unable to care for himself or herself. Even when no sudden medical situation necessitates a move, the decision to go into a nursing home is a monumental one and is often not made until a senior is truly unable to care for himself or for herself.
Unfortunately, in the midst of a medical emergency or a life-changing decision, patients and their family members are asked to review mountains of paperwork when they go into a nursing home. Nursing home admissions contracts can be many pages long, and can contain lots of technical legal language and fine print. All too often, people do not fully read the nursing home contract or they read the contract but sign it without understanding all of the clauses.
Signing an admissions contract without understanding what the agreement contains can be a bad choice for seniors and their families. Unfortunately, these contracts can sometimes contain clauses which end up abridging the rights of nursing home residents and family members to file a lawsuit in the event of abuse or neglect. This can be very damaging when a nursing home ends up failing to provide an appropriate level of care to a senior resident.
To make sure you understand all paperwork you sign, and to ensure you find a nursing home which is most likely to provide the highest quality of care, you need to know your rights. Mark S. Eghrari & Associates PLLC has extensive experience providing representation to nursing home residents and their families when the decision is made to move into nursing homes. Give us a call if you want help before you or someone you love makes the choice to make into a nursing care facility.
Nursing Homes Limiting The Rights of Patients
Nursing homes end up limiting the rights of residents with the use of arbitration clauses. Arbitration clauses will require someone who would ordinarily have a civil lawsuit to instead decide the claim during arbitration. An arbitrator hears evidence presented by both sides and then issues a binding rule just like would be issued in a court. While the arbitrator is supposed to be impartial and decisions can be appealed if there were procedural problems or if the arbitration process was not a fair one, the decision made by the arbitrator is usually given great deference.
Arbitration clauses are a problem for patients and their families for lots of reasons. In one study of 1,449 claims against long-term care providers, Washington Post reported that 30 percent of the claims decided in arbitration resulted in no compensation at all for the abuse victims of their families when nursing home abuse claims were made. The cases studied took place between 2003 and 2011. The decisions made by arbitrators were compared to the decisions made in court. When a claim against a nursing home was decided in court, the victim or family members was compensated for abuse in all but 19 percent of claims.
Arbitration is a problem even when victims are able to successfully make a claim. Victims have to pay a part of the arbitrator’s fees when they file a claim for abuse or neglect. Victims also tend to be compensated less by an arbitrator in successful claims, as compared with those patients and families whose cases are resolved outside of court. In 8.5 percent of cases decided in arbitration, the awards to victims equaled or exceeded $250,000 while 12 percent of victims whose cases were decided outside of arbitration were compensated with at least $250,000.
Suffolk County Nursing Home Lawyers Can Help
If you are concerned about your rights when going into a nursing home or if you want to make sure a family member is protected when going into a nursing home, it is imperative that you get appropriate legal help reviewing a nursing home admissions agreement.
Suffolk County nursing home lawyers can provide invaluable assistance with understanding how the law protects nursing home residents and can also assist in cases when abuse or neglect may have occurred. Mark S. Eghrari & Associates PLLC provides representation both when a client has a civil claim to pursue in court and when an abuse or neglect claim must be decided in arbitration.
To learn more about the assistance we can offer and the ways in which our nursing home lawyers can help you with your admissions contract or your neglect case, give us a call at (631) 265-0599 or contact us online. You can also download our estate planning checklist to find out more about the rights of nursing home residents.