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What is a Pre-Dispute Arbitration Agreement In A Nursing Home Liability Case?

old man being held by two nursing home staff members
Madeleine Jones
October 12, 2021

Admitting a family member into a nursing home is always a difficult decision. It can be an emotional process. It also involves a lot of paperwork that needs to be filled in before your loved one gets settled in. One of those documents commonly present to new nursing home residents is a pre-dispute arbitration agreement. 

You need to be careful when getting this form. If you sign it, it could mean you are giving away your rights to make the nursing home liable for any negligence or abuse to your loved one. If someone you love is a nursing home abuse victim in Las Vegas, let the expert elder abuse attorneys at Cogburn Law review your case. Our team will read the fine print in this document and determine what legal action you can take to hold the nursing home and its staff accountable for their negligent actions.

Having the right legal counsel can help you protect the safety and health of your loved ones residing in a nursing home in Nevada and get compensation for their injuries. 

What is a Pre-Dispute Arbitration Agreement?

A pre-dispute arbitration agreement is a document that requires that any disputes that occur between the nursing home resident and the nursing home be resolved through arbitration, even if the nursing home has not done anything wrong yet.

Arbitration happens outside of court and the decisions made are legally binding. These decisions are confidential. When you sign a pre-dispute arbitration agreement, you are giving away your rights even before you know you have a potential lawsuit on your hands.

This type of agreement is sometimes presented in a paperwork package, but, other times they are presented on their own. It is important that you understand every piece of paperwork that you sign, and you should never sign any legal documents before talking to a lawyer first to understand what it entails.

What Counts As A Dispute In A Nursing Home Case?

A dispute is any event in which a nursing home resident is neglected or harmed. This includes:

  • Getting the wrong dosage or medication
  • Developing pressure ulcers or bedsores because of neglect
  • Any injuries suffered as a result of caregiver negligence, including broken bones and falls
  • Having belongings or money stolen
  • Dehydration and malnutrition
  • Physical abuse or assault by a staff member or a fellow resident
  • Disease outbreaks that could be prevented that lead to illnesses, infections, and death

Once this arbitration agreement is signed, you won’t be able to file a lawsuit against the nursing home for any of these disputes. To learn more about how to spot these disputes, read our article here.

Why You Should Say “No” To a Pre-Dispute Arbitration Agreement

These agreements don’t protect the nursing home resident’s interests or their families. They are intended to protect the nursing home’s interests, and there are a number of reasons why you should not sign one. 

Like we mentioned before, arbitration is done outside of the courtroom. Neither a jury nor a judge can be involved and the dispute is settled by an arbitrator. Since the arbitration is not a trial, the evidence rules don’t apply. The nursing home can show evidence that normally might not be admitted in court, and the arbitrator can consider it when making a decision on the case.

What Happens If The Arbitration Agreement is Mandatory?

A representative of the nursing home may tell you that signing this document is mandatory, but actually, they don’t have the right to do so. Under federal law, a nursing home can’t refuse to admit a new resident because the arbitration agreement was not signed. If you did sign a pre-dispute arbitration agreement, however, under the law you have 30 days to void the agreement.

Why Should I Hire A Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer?

If you are admitting a loved one into a nursing home, the Las Vegas and Henderson nursing home abuse attorneys at Cogburn Law can ensure that it’s done properly. We will go through every paperwork you are required to sign by the nursing home, let you know what your rights are, and protect them. If you did sign a pre-dispute arbitration agreement and are a victim of abuse or neglect, we can talk you through what your legal options are under Nevada Law. Contact us today at (702) 748-7777 for a free initial consultation.

A few years ago we decided to move my grandfather into a nursing home. It was hard to leave him there but thought it would be the best for him, he would get the care we could no longer give him. But about 6 months ago we started noticing how neglected he seemed to be every time we visited. He was skinnier, didn’t seem to be eating well, didn’t look as clean, and just overall not the same. After talking to a friend, he recommended getting in touch with Cogburn Law. I spoke with Jamie Cogburn and found out we could file a lawsuit against the nursing home. He was amazing and really cared about making it right for my grandfather. We actually received compensation some months later which helped to pay for the new nursing home. We will definitely be recommending Cogburn Law to our friends and family.

Mike R.