Arbitration Agreements with Doctor or Insurance Providers in Utah
When people sign up for medical insurance, or seek medical care from a new provider, they are often handed piles of paperwork to fill out. Among this paperwork, patients are usually given an arbitration agreement. Although doctors and insurance companies strongly encourage individuals to sign arbitration agreements, it is important to understand your legal options.
Many people wonder, “Do I have to sign an arbitration agreement with my doctor or insurance company in the state of Utah?” Medical malpractice attorneys at Younker Hyde Macfarlane, PLLC, help those in Salt Lake City, UT, and surrounding areas understand what an arbitration agreement means, and whether state law requires patients to enter into this type of contract.
What Is An Arbitration Agreement?
An arbitration agreement is a legal contract that exists between a patient and a medical provider (or their medical insurance company). The document stipulates that, in the event that any difficulties arise from treatment, patients will settle that matter through arbitration rather than filing a lawsuit in court.
The arbitration process is very similar to a civil lawsuit. Each side is given time to gather evidence and present their case. However, rather than the outcome being determined by a judge or jury, an arbitrator decides whether awards will be given. Arbitration proceedings often do not require that state or federal rules of evidence be followed, and they don’t require that the arbitrator apply the governing law. For these reasons, arbitration typically is more beneficial to the medical provider than the patient.
Are Arbitration Agreements Legally Required In Utah?
Medical providers and insurance companies may give the impression that arbitration agreements are required. However, our Salt Lake City clients should know that the state of Utah prohibits medical providers from denying treatment if a patient refuses to sign an arbitration agreement. Similarly, insurance companies cannot deny coverage to someone who refuses to sign an arbitration agreement. If patients are pushed to sign the agreement, they should let their medical provider and insurance company know that they intend to uphold their constitutional right to a jury trial if their medical provider is negligent in their care.
What If I Already Signed An Arbitration Agreement?
If an arbitration agreement has already been signed, it may not be too late to back out. The state of Utah allows a person to rescind an arbitration agreement within 30 days of signing it.
If it is too late to rescind an arbitration agreement, patients should contact an attorney. Our medical malpractice attorneys can look over the contract to ensure that it is valid. If the agreement is legally binding, we will focus on building a case to prove medical malpractice for our Salt Lake City clients. Even though the argument will be presented in arbitration rather than court, patients still have a right to have an attorney on their side fighting on their behalf.
If you believe that you have been a victim of medical malpractice, the attorneys at Younker Hyde Macfarlane, PLLC, can help you consider your legal options regarding compensation for damages. To discuss your situation in further detail, contact our law firm online or call (801) 335-6467 to schedule a consultation.