Why You Need to Say No to Iowa Nursing Home Arbitration Agreements

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Posted by Pressley Henningsen

Picking a nursing home in Iowa for a loved one is a difficult, trying time. It can be hard to find a nursing home that you trust with your loved one. There is a lot of paperwork involved in the decision as well.

Arbitration Agreements in Iowa Nursing Homes

One piece of paper that is often slid in with the rest of these admission documents is an arbitration agreement. Sometimes this can be a standalone document; other times it is a clause somewhere within the admission paperwork.

Regardless of where you find it, the clause usually reads that you and your loved ones will give up your Seventh Amendment right to a civil jury trial if the nursing home doesn’t do its job and hurts your loved one. Most people don’t take the time to read these documents closely, so they don’t realize what they’re signing.

We understand – you’re handed a bunch of paperwork to sign all at once. At the time, you’re not even contemplating that the nursing home you’re hiring may not do its job, which results in the death or serious injury of the one you love.

Unfortunately, Iowa nursing home abuse or neglect happens all too often – and when it does happen, the first thing the nursing home does is hold up that signed arbitration agreement and argue that they can’t be held accountable.

What is Arbitration in Iowa?

Arbitration can be better defined by what it is not:

1. You don’t go to a courthouse

2. There will be no public record

3. There will be no jury of your peers asked to make a decision about what happened.

The arbitration process began when corporations entering into contracts together would hash out disputes without going to the courtroom. The corporations would pick a third party to make a determination on any conflict that arose.

Having no public record of the nursing homes that are hurting people means other families like yours will experience the anger and heartbreak of losing a loved one to negligence. The public needs to know when a corporation is acting negligently, but arbitration removes that right to a public record.

Health care providers have taken the idea of arbitration and turned it against their patients and residents. It should never be used in a health care context – but it routinely is.

Arbitrations also generally have a much lower monetary result than jury trials – meaning it’s likely you will get paid less if you arbitrate your case rather than take it to a jury trial of your peers. Insurance companies love this because it means less money out of their pocket.

If you spot an arbitration clause in nursing home admissions paperwork, refuse to sign it. If you have already signed an arbitration agreement and your loved one has been injured by their Iowa nursing home, we still may be able to help. Call us at 1-800-433-0283 so we can look at the arbitration agreement and see if it can be set aside.

If you have more questions about arbitration and Iowa nursing homes, call RSH Legal today at 1-800-433-0283.

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