Florida Court Does Not Enforce Arbitration Clause in Nursing Home Case

The unfortunate reality is that nursing home negligence injures a number of people in Florida and across the United States each year. If you or someone close to you has been injured due to a nursing home’s negligence, we can help. At the Law Offices, our Miami nursing home negligence attorneys can assess the merits of your case and determine the viability of your claim. We understand that this is a sensitive issue, which is why you can expect the utmost compassion from us throughout the entire legal process.

Sadly, elders often fail to receive the care they need and deserve. In fact, the American Association of Justice reports that only one in 14 nursing home abuse cases are reported to the proper authorities, and over 90 percent of nursing homes do not have enough staff to look after their residents properly.

A Florida appellate court recently issued an opinion regarding a wrongful death claim filed by a woman whose husband died in a nursing home facility. The case asked the court to figure out the validity of an arbitration clause in a contract that was signed by the nursing home resident’s wife before he was admitted into the facility. An arbitration clause is a clause in a contract that requires the parties to resolve their disputes through an arbitration process.

The person filing the case (i.e., the plaintiff) is the nursing home resident’s wife. As mentioned earlier, before her husband was admitted into the nursing home facility, the plaintiff signed an agreement to engage in the arbitration process on behalf of her husband. After her husband died, however, the plaintiff proceeded to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the nursing home.

The nursing home contended that the matter should go through arbitration, given the arbitration clause that was signed prior to the man’s admission. The plaintiff claimed that the arbitration clause was invalid and that the enforcement of the clause would contravene good policy. In addition, the plaintiff argued that the arbitration provision could not be severed. The nursing home did not address these arguments. Instead, the defendant argued that the arbitrator, rather than the court, must make that determination, since the contract contains a delegation provision.

The court did not agree with the defendant, reasoning the arbitration contract did not include an explicit clause giving authority to an arbitrator to make a determination of this nature. Without such a clause, the court concluded there were no grounds to find that the plaintiff gave up his or her right to go through the court system.

When you make the difficult decision of sending a loved one to a nursing home, you expect competent care. Sadly, many elders face neglect and abuse at these institutions. If a member of your family has been hurt due to a nursing home’s negligence, you need to reach out to a seasoned Miami nursing home abuse lawyer who can help. At the Law Offices, we have years of experience helping South Florida clients resolve their personal injury cases and can help you as well. Call us today at 1-877-499-HURT (4878) or reach out to us online today.

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