February 2011 Archives

Many nursing homes now include arbitration agreements among the mountain of paperwork that they have patients or their families sign at the time of admission to the nursing home.  These arbitration agreements attempt to prevent jury trials in the event of later allegations of injuries or death resulting from nursing home negligence. Rather, such disputes would be decided by arbitrators often chosen by the nursing home and subject to rules and procedures dictated by the nursing home.

Many people have no idea what they are signing at this very stressful time of their lives as they are focusing on ensuring that their family member or loved one gets necessary medical care.  As a result, it is common for family members to sign these arbitration agreements without reading the documents and/or giving any thought whatsoever as to later ramifications. 

Under Maryland law, if a mentally competent patient signs such an arbitration agreement at the time of admission to a nursing home, he or she will likely be bound by its terms down the road. 

It is often the case, however, that a family member or loved one signs the admitting nursing home paperwork.  Executed nursing home arbitration agreements typically are not even a precondition to the patient receiving treatment or services.  In situations where someone other than the resident signs the arbitration agreement and the patient may receive health care without signing the arbitration agreement, the Court will focus its analysis as to whether the arbitration agreement is binding upon whether the individual who signed the arbitration agreement was authorized to waive the resident's access to the courts and right to a trial by jury.  See Dickerson v. Longoria, 995 A.2d 721 (Md. 2010).  Importantly, evidence of authority to make health care decisions and financial decisions are not relevant to this analysis.  Instead, there must be evidence that the resident authorized decisions to be made on their behalf regarding access to courts and right to jury trial.      

Please feel free to contact the nursing home neglect attorneys at Dever & Feldstein, LLC at (888) 825-9119 for a free consultation if you believe that a family member or loved one has sustained serious injury or wrongful death as a result of bed sores (also known as pressure sores or decubitus ulcers), nursing home falls, dehydration/malnutrition, medication error/prescription mistake, elder abuse or elder neglect.

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This page is an archive of entries from February 2011 listed from newest to oldest.

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