Print This Article

Ideally, health care providers do the right thing. Good Care is provided. There is no negligence. But what if they don’t do the right thing? What if they are negligent? Should you have the right to consider your options regarding how to hold them accountable?

Over the past two decades, many long-term care providers, especially nursing homes, ask residents to sign pre-injury arbitration agreements. Usually these agreements are buried in the mountain of paperwork necessary to admit nursing home residents. Frequently, paper-after-paper is placed in front of the resident’s representative. The only instruction is “sign here” as each page is passed across the table. So what are you agreeing to if you sign an arbitration agreement?

Arbitration agreements are common in business transactions where the disputed amount is easy to calculate. They are troublesome when they concern injuries. They are even more troubling when you’re asked to blindly agree before the injury occurs. It’s a bit like being blind-folded, spun around and then being asked to hit the pinata. So if the health care provider negligently harms or negligently fails to protect a resident, you’re already boxed in and have no options regarding how to hold the nursing home accountable. A jury of your peers will never hear your case. It will be decided by a “professional” who calmly listens and coldly decides what your injury is worth.

To avoid having arbitration agreement thrown out as contracts of adhesion, most include a limited window during which you can opt out. In other words, as long as you give notice before that window expires, you can reject the arbitration agreement. If you decide to opt out, and if there isn’t a specific form you’re required to use, the form below might be enough to document your decision. Just make sure you have proof it was received.

This is important and complicated stuff, and we are NOT providing legal advice. You should consult an attorney if you have questions.

[Your Name] [Your Address] [Name and Address of nursing home]

Re:  [Resident’s name]

Dear Sir or Madam,

It is my understanding that I had thirty days to opt out of the arbitration agreement you had me sign when [Resident’s Name} was admitted to [Name of Nursing Home].

I am giving notice that I wish to opt out and that I do not agree to arbitration at this time. If a disagreement or dispute arises, I would want the opportunity to confer with my lawyer prior making a decision regarding alternative dispute resolution.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.


[Your Name]


Receipt Acknowledged by:

______________________                             ________________
Signature                                                                   Date
Name: _________________
Title: __________________

Opting Out of Arbitration Agreements

Start Here

Enter your name and email address to keep up with what’s new at EZ Elder Law!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.