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Texas Nursing Home Disputes Involving Arbitration Clauses

hands-people-friends-communication-45842-scaledTexas individuals who admit their loved ones into nursing homes do so with the expectation that the nursing facility will provide their family members with appropriate medical care and treat them with respect and compassion. However, the sad reality is that many people suffer abuse and serious injuries because of reckless, negligent, or careless Texas nursing home personnel. In these cases, families should take steps to pursue a Texas nursing home abuse lawsuit against the at-fault individual or entity.

Many families who try to pursue claims against Texas nursing homes face roadblocks because of arbitration agreements they agreed to upon admittance. For over twenty years, nursing home and long-term care facilities offered arbitration agreements as a way to solve disputes. Arbitration provides the parties to present their case to a neutral party who will decide on the matter. In some cases, arbitration can save both parties the time and expense of a long and drawn-out trial process. However, arbitration agreements are often one-sided and favor the party who offered the option, such as a nursing home.

These agreements are not only one-sided, but they were often a requirement for those wishing to enter nursing home care. Additionally, there was overwhelming evidence that nursing home arbitration agreements were detrimental to the safety of long-term care facility residents. To address the inherent unfairness in the rule, in 2016, lawmakers changed the rules. They explained that any facility that requires residents to sign arbitration agreements to enter the facility would not be eligible for federal funding. Even with the favorable public reaction to the ban, in 2019, a new rule took effect. The current law allows nursing homes to include arbitration agreements in their admission packets. However, it is important to note that nursing homes cannot require residents to sign the agreement as a pre-requisite to admission. Additionally, nursing homes must provide residents with at least 30-days to rescind their agreement.

It is crucial that families thoroughly review their admission documents before admitting their loved ones into facilities to avoid foregoing future claims against the facility. For example, recently, a state appellate court issued an opinion that highlights issues that arise when family members file negligence lawsuits against nursing homes. In this case, a family filed a lawsuit alleging several claims, including negligence, against a nursing home on behalf of their mother.

The nursing home tried to compel arbitration citing documents that the woman’s son signed upon admittance. On appeal, the nursing home argued that the son signed the arbitration agreement on behalf of his mother, and therefore they were bound by the contract. The appellate court ultimately found that the son did not have the authority to sign on behalf of his mother, and therefore the agreement was invalid.

Have You or Someone You Know Suffered Injuries at a Texas Nursing Home?

If you or someone you know has suffered serious injuries at a Texas nursing home or long-term care facility, contact the attorneys at Carabin Shaw. The attorneys at our law firm are up-to-date on the ever-changing laws that affect our community and Texas injury victims. We have successfully represented countless injury victims and recovered substantial compensation on their behalf. Our attorneys possess the knowledge, skills, and experience to handle even the most complicated personal injury lawsuits. Contact our office at 800-862-1260 to schedule a free initial consultation with an attorney at our office.

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