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Shapiro & Appleton

Some Injured or Neglected Virginia and North Carolina Nursing Home Residents No Longer Protected by Courts

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Making the move into a nursing home can be emotional and stressful for both the soon-to-be resident and the family. Most families rightfully focus their search on finding a place that will provide quality, personal care while still staying within the budget. However, one other item that they need to be aware of is the increasing use of binding arbitration agreements by nursing home and assisted living facilities.

A binding arbitration agreement basically takes away a patient’s and their family’s right to file a lawsuit against the nursing home or assisted living facility. Any issues that may arise -- including negligence, abuse or even wrongful death -- have to be decided through arbitration instead. Arbitration procedures in nursing homes usually involve one or more supposedly impartial people who are experts in nursing home issues settling a dispute instead of the matter going to court and being decided by a judge and jury.

Advocates for nursing home residents and nursing home attorneys question the fairness to the residents and their families in these arbitrations. Arbitrators whose decisions frequently favor the nursing homes may be rewarded by the facility by giving them more cases. Nursing home victims who have suffered serious issues such as bedsores, dehydration, or injuries from falling, frequently receive smaller financial awards from arbitrators than they would have from a judge or jury. North Carolina nursing home residents that have signed arbitration agreements may find that the amount of damages they can receive for injuries is limited by the agreements.

North Carolina and Virginia nursing home attorneys are fighting for the rights nursing home residents and the courts are in agreement with them. According to Kiplinger's Retirement Report, the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals has ruled against the facility in three separate nursing home wrongful death cases in which the deceased residents had signed an arbitration clause. In the meantime, if you or a loved one are considering moving into a nursing home, please contact a Virginia or North Carolina nursing home attorney to review any contracts before signing them.

If you are already involved in an arbitration situation with a nursing home or assisted living facility, contact a nursing home attorney immediately to ensure your rights are protected. The following article from by a North Carolina nursing home attorney may provide insight into choosing a nursing home and how to spot nursing home abuse.


MH

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