Mandatory Arbitration in Nursing Home Malpractice Claims Challenged

There is a growing movement to ban the common practice of requiring nursing home residents to waive their right to file a lawsuit in claims of negligence, abuse, or neglect in favor of arbitration. Last week, several consumer advocates testified before congress and criticized the practice of “forced arbitration.”

Public Citizen released a report alleging that the practice of forced arbitration, essentially requiring a consumer to sign an arbitration agreement as a condition of being provided the service, has become pervasive. The report, “Forced Arbitration: Unfair and Everywhere” found that many industries, including nursing homes, banks, contractors, cable companies and auto sales, will require consumes to waive their right to file a lawsuit before the services will be provided.

For years, attorneys and consumer advocates have questioned the impartiality of arbitration, which usually has a lawyer or retired judge, or a panel of them, sitting as the trier of fact. The Public Citizen report reveals that arbitrators for the National Arbitration Forum (NAF), the largest arbitration firm in the country (but one of many), ruled against consumers 94 percent of the time.

With regard to nursing homes, the Fairness in Nursing Home Arbitration Act of 2009 is currently being considered by the U.S. House of Representatives. In current form, the Act would ban the practice of arbitration clauses in admission agreements.

Source: About Lawsuits

The nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers at the Walton Law Firm provide free consultations to individuals and families who believe a loved one has been abuse or neglected in a Southern California nursing home or assisted living facility.