As the number of two-income households continues to increase, more families will begin to rely on Maine nursing homes to provide necessary care to their aging loved ones. Of course, selecting a nursing home for a loved one is a difficult decision. While many nursing homes are reputable facilities with care staff members, that simply is not the case for them all. Indeed, one study found that nearly 25 percent of all nursing home residents will experience at least one instance of physical abuse during their stay at a facility.
Under Maine law, nursing homes have a duty to provide an adequate level of care to each of their residents. Of course, this includes ensuring that residents are not abused by staff members or other residents, but it also includes making sure that residents’ physical needs are met. When a nursing home fails to live up to its duty, the resident (or their family members) can hold the facility accountable through a Maine nursing home lawsuit.
Arbitration contracts are an important part of many nursing home lawsuits. Thus, it is critical for residents and their family members to understand how arbitration contracts work, and what their limitations are. An arbitration agreement is a contract that is usually between the resident and the facility by which the parties agree not to pursue a claim through the court system. Instead, the parties agree that a neutral arbitrator will hear the case and render a binding decision.
While arbitration may not initially sound like a bad thing for Maine nursing home residents, historically, nursing homes tend to fare better through arbitration than they do through the court system. Not only that, but the decision of an arbitrator is typically final and the losing party is not generally entitled to an appeal. Finally, arbitration proceedings are confidential, so aggrieved family members may not be able to publicly hold the facility accountable.
Not all arbitration contracts are enforceable, however. Arbitration agreements are legally considered contracts, and must meet all the elements of a valid contract. Under basic contract law, the signer to an agreement cannot legally bind someone else by their signature. Thus, when nursing homes allow a family member to sign on behalf of a resident, the contract may not be valid. Similarly, if a resident signs an arbitration agreement, this may not bind a loved one from pursuing a wrongful death claim in the event of the resident’s death. Of course, the law surrounding arbitration clauses is complex and nuanced. Anyone considering bringing a case against a Maine nursing home should consult with a dedicated Maine personal injury lawyer.
Has Your Loved One Been Injured in a Maine Nursing Home
If you have a loved one in a Maine nursing home, and believe that they not been properly cared for, contact the dedicated Maine nursing home lawyers at Peter Thompson & Associates. At our Portland personal injury law firm, we proudly represent nursing home residents and their family members in clams against abusive and negligence care facilities. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation today, call 800-804-2004 today.