Have you ever been handed a stack of insurance or mortgage papers or a cell phone contract and half-heartedly skimmed through it, not really reading it, before signing?
If you’re like the majority of Americans who have, you may want to be more cautious next time. Forced arbitration has become a common clause written into contracts and agreements, but most people don’t know what it is or that they’ve agreed to it upon signing.
Arbitration is another method of settling disputes between two parties, but it’s done outside of the courtroom. Instead of standing before a judge and jury, two parties present their cases before an arbitrator. The arbitrator weighs both sides and comes to a decision, but very often this decision is biased and does not take all of the facts into account.
Many companies have added forced arbitration into contracts and agreements because it benefits them. With this clause in place, employees cannot sue for things like discrimination due to sex, age, disability or race. Consumers cannot sue for defective or dangerous products, scams or any type of negligence.
Forced arbitration takes away the rights and liberties of employees or consumers, leaving them completely vulnerable to unfair treatment. If you have signed a forced arbitration clause, you are bound to whatever the arbitrator decides and cannot appeal your case in court, thus forfeiting your right to a “day in court.”
Unfortunately, forced arbitration clauses have become so commonplace that they are now very hard to avoid. Most insurance and credit card companies, nursing homes, doctors and hospitals, and employers make forced arbitration a mandatory part of any contract. The only way to avoid it completely is to fight for legislation to make it illegal.
If you are injured by a defective consumer or medical product, contact Tennessee personal injury attorneys at Gilreath & Associates to find out if forced arbitration plays a role in your case and what compensation you are entitled to for injuries sustained by the faulty product.
If you’d like to learn more about forced arbitration, check out our recent article: Forced Arbitration: What It Is and Why You Should Be Against It.