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Can those in Kentucky nursing homes be forced into arbitration?

Lexington residents may be aware that earlier this year the federal government announced its goal of abolishing prohibitions on pre-dispute arbitration clauses in contracts. In such a contract, residents of care facilities or their families agree to undergo arbitration before they can file a lawsuit, even if there is no dispute yet. These contracts can be applicable even if the victim has been subjected to nursing home abuse and neglect.

These forced arbitration clauses oftentimes must be signed when the resident is being admitted to the nursing home. Due to the stress of the situation, people may feel coerced into signing the forced arbitration contracts, even if it means relinquishing their right to sue, or else their loved one will not be permitted to reside in the nursing home.

Moreover, these types of clauses often favor the nursing home. For example, the nursing home might be the party that is allowed to choose an arbitrator, the location wherein the issue will be arbitrated and how the arbitration process will proceed. This makes it difficult for residents who have been subjected to nursing home abuse or neglect to hold the facility accountable for its actions. Also, since arbitration proceedings are private, it can be difficult for people to know of a nursing home's history of abuse or neglect.

In the end, it is important to make sure that you understand all of the documents you are asked to sign when admitting a loved one into a nursing home. If a person feels they were wrongfully coerced into signing a forced arbitration contract, they may want to contact an attorney who can advise them on their rights in such situations.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Nursing Home Abuse Is The Health Care Story You Should be Following," Robyn Grant and Remington A. Gregg, Aug. 1, 2017

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