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Agreement to Waive a Trial against a Nursing Home is not a Good Idea

Admitting a family member to a nursing home is a stressful emotional time. It is also a time when people should pay close attention to everything they sign. This is especially important if the nursing home demands that the patient waive his or her right to a jury trial in the event of a nursing home negligence lawsuit resulting from an injury suffered while in its care. This process is not common in nursing homes who often seek to avoid an elderly abuse lawsuit in court by having a patient or their guardian agree to arbitration. Arbitration may be helpful, but preserving your right to a jury trial is very important because it leaves that option open should a person decide to have a nursing home negligence trial. While some courts have ruled that pre-injury agreements to waive a jury trial are both unfair and unenforceable but others uphold the waiver. One such court emphasized three main factors specific to the case: the waiver agreement was not a condition of being admitted; it was a two-page document separate from the lengthier admissions contract, and there was a 30-day period to reject the waiver agreement. Allowing nursing homes to avoid jury trials before any elderly negligence or abuse occurs is bad public policy. It does not account for the differences in nursing home abuse cases. To read more about jury waivers, click the link.