Arbitration Agreement Not Enforceable Due to Inadequate Explanation to Patient

October 3, 2014 | Strategic Insights for Ambulatory Care


​An agreement signed by a patient requiring arbitration of any dispute related to medical care the patient received has been deemed unenforceable because it was not properly prepared or presented to the patient, ruled the North Carolina Court of Appeals. The patient sought treatment from the defendant physician for a hernia, which would require him to undergo a laparoscopic surgery. The patient signed the arbitration agreement before the surgery, and then later filed a lawsuit related to his treatment. A trial court denied the physician's motion to require arbitration. The appeals court agreed with the trial court's opinion that the patient could not be compelled to arbitrate because the document was written in complex incomprehensible language, and contained convoluted sentences, and was not explained to the patient, who had no education beyond high school.

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