Are Chicago Mandatory Nursing Home Arbitration Agreements Legal?

In a word, yes. While national legislation addressing the legality of mandatory nursing home arbitration agreements is pending, it has not yet passed. If the legislation, entitled the Fairness in Nursing Home Arbitration Act, is passed by the US House and Senate then it will effectively ban mandatory arbitration clauses included in admission contracts for nursing homes, assisted living facilities and other long-term care facilities. A nursing home lawyer in Chicago is your best resource to explain the current and proposed legislation.

Benefits of the proposed legislation:
– Protect patients and their families from exploitation by large corporations
– Provide each individual the opportunity to fight for full legal rights
– Potential to receive higher damages that with arbitration for pain, suffering and/or wrongful death

However, until this legislation is passed and signed into law, what is the best way to proceed with admission to a long term care facility that includes a mandatory arbitration clause?
– Be Wary. While it may make sense from a business standpoint (i.e., the care facility’s position) to keep costs down with mandatory arbitration agreements, it can be unnerving to the potential patient and their family. As a potential patient or their advocate, you need to find out more information.
– Ask Questions. If possible, find out how many former patients have pursued arbitration, or have attempted to pursue lawsuits. Because the facility may not be willing or able to disclose this information, you may need to do your own research or consult a nursing home lawyer in Chicago for help.
– Know Your Rights. While mandatory arbitration agreements in Chicago are currently legal, you do not have to sign one. You especially should not sign one without reviewing the document with a nursing home lawyer in Chicago.

Remember, nursing home arbitration agreements were put in place to cut costs and avoid litigation for long term care facilities. They are a way for large corporations who own long term care facilities to control costs and settle disputes quickly and quietly outside of a courtroom. They are not intended to benefit or protect the rights of individual patients. For this reason, before you or a loved one sign a mandatory arbitration agreement or any other legal document for admission into a long term care facility, please review it with a nursing home lawyer in Chicago or your area.