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Debate over Arbitration Clauses in Contracts

According to the American Association for Justice, the Supreme Court of the United States is scheduled to hear from both parties in a court case in which one party is fighting to allow corporations to go around federal laws currently in place and demand that disputes with the corporation be handled through arbitration, not allowing the smaller businesses or individuals that file suit against the corporation to have their chance in court.

Unfortunately, many consumers do not realize when signing a contract with a corporation that the fine print requires that any disputes that arise between the parties must be handled through arbitration and not through a court lawsuit. This language may be just a couple of sentences mixed into a huge contract and is easily missed by many consumers when signing a contract. There is a growing amount of concern that allowing these clauses to be enforced blocks smaller businesses and individuals from the ability to use the justice system when a problem arises, and that allowing these clauses in contracts gives corporations an unfair amount of power over the small businesses and individuals they are contracting with.

Our Illinois personal injury attorneys remind all readers of the importance of always reading any contract that you enter into and consulting an attorney if there is language you are not clear on or are uncomfortable signing without further understanding. It is important to make sure you preserve your rights and do not end up in a situation where the party you are contracting with has the upper hand over you and where you cannot protect yourself if a problem arises.

One type of situation where our attorneys see these arbitration clauses come up frequently is in contracts for choosing a nursing home for a loved one. If you are searching for a nursing home for your loved one, we recommend that you do not sign any contracts that have a mandatory arbitration agreement. Should any problem arise with the nursing home or should you believe that your loved one was not treated as they should have been, you should always have the option to take the nursing home to court and have your case heard.

Since it is currently unclear whether these arbitration clauses will continue to be legally enforceable, we ask that you always make sure what rights you have when signing a contract and that you always try to retain your right to your day in court should a problem occur.