When a nursing home resident is injured, tort litigation is traditionally the venue of choice for plaintiffs seeking compensation. However, with the risk of large verdicts appearing to increase in the last quarter-century, physicians and long-term health care facilities have begun to pursue mandatory arbitration as an alternative to traditional litigation. Defendant physicians and nursing homes often feel that arbitration is most effective to summarily dispose of fraudulent claims, to increase predictability in dispute resolution and to reduce the potential amount of damages recoverable. See, generally, John Day, Nursing Home Litigation: Pre-Suit Evaluation and Discovery, 27 Trial 2 (April 1991); Jules Olsman, Proving Damages for Elderly Plaintiffs, 27 Trial 35 (April 1991). Freedom of Contract and the Federal Arbitration Act.
However, many plaintiffs’ and defense attorneys are not familiar with the rules regarding mandatory arbitration and how these rules can impact the representation of their clients.
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