Did you sign an arbitration agreement when you admitted your loved one to a nursing home? Are you now concerned you are unable to sue the nursing home in a court of law? Depending on the factual scenario, you may be able to render the arbitration agreement unenforceable. If you have not already signed the arbitration clause, do not sign it and consult with a lawyer!
Arbitration Agreements Upon Admission to a Nursing Home: How it Happens
Typically, arbitration agreements are mixed into a large stack of admission paperwork so that you truly do not know what you are signing. Other times, the nursing home will force an elderly resident who does not have capacity to enter into contracts to sign the paperwork. In both situations, a court may view the hurried signing of paperwork by incorrect parties as procedurally unconscionable.
Inherent Unfairness in Nursing Home Arbitration Clauses
Can a Florida nursing home arbitration provision remove the Plaintiff's ability to obtain punitive damages? Can it take away the possibility of being awarded costs if the Plaintiff prevails? Can a nursing home arbitration agreement limit discovery? If a Florida nursing home arbitration agreement frustrates the remedial nursing home resident rights laid out in Chapter 400 of the Florida Statutes, it may be viewed by the Court as substantively unconscionable. In order for a Florida arbitration clause to be held unenforceable due to unconscionability, the Court must find that the agreement is both procedurally unconscionable and substantively unconscionable.
Florida Nursing Home Arbitration Agreements that are Against Public Policy
A Florida nursing home arbitration clause can be invalidated if a Court finds it is against public policy. This determination can often overlap with the above determination of substantive unconscionability. For example, in my practice as a Palm Beach nursing home abuse lawyer, I was successful in invalidating a nursing home arbitration agreement on the grounds that it was against public policy, because the arbitration clause only allowed limited discovery. My argument was that if I was only permitted to do limited discovery and only obtain certain documents, it is possible that I would be unable to meet my burden of proof at trial. This would defeat the remedial rights laid out by our legislature in Chapter 400, which protects my wrongfully injured nursing home resident client. The Judge agreed and struck down the arbitration agreement, allowing us to proceed to litigate in a court of law.
How Can I Invalidate a Florida Nursing Home Arbitration Agreement?
Each arbitration agreement is different. The scenarios surrounding the signing of the agreements vary widely. Your best bet is to speak with a Florida nursing home neglect attorney who will advise you of your rights for free. Call me now or fill out the inquiry form below to determine if you have a valid case. CALL NOW: 561-316-7207