Arbitration is a process of resolving complaints without the use of the court system. A person basically signs a document waiving their right to a jury trial, and gets nothing in return. The rules for arbitration are different, the process is confidential, and a mediator decides the case as opposed to a jury. The family pays costs to prosecute a claim they would not have to typically pay in the court system (for example, a plaintiff does not have to pay a judge but does have to pay the arbitrator, which can be expensive). Many nursing home corporations and companies want this forum because it is confidential and there is no jury.
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I read an article online recently reporting of a nursing home owner and operator stealing from his residents. On June 30, 2009 Michael D. Berg, 72, the owner of an Ocean Township nursing home, plead guilty to stealing approximately $39,000 from one of his home’s residents. Berg plead guilty to one count of third-degree theft by deception.
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Because of the length of time it takes to determine the amount and applicability of both Medicaid and Medicare liens, inquiries to these entities should be made as soon as a case is opened.
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Before even considering entering the realm of plaintiff’s malpractice litigation, it is imperative to become intimately familiar with your jurisdiction’s malpractice law, including certificates of merit, affidavits of merit and the like.
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Some jurisdictions, New Jersey being one example, include provisions of the affidavit of merit statute which addresses situations where a defendant fails to produce a medical record, despite a legitimate request which has been made by certified mail.
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