Recently, the Indiana Court of Appeals, issued an opinion reversing the denial of a plaintiff’s motion to compel arbitration. The appellate court remanded a case involving a malpractice claim brought by the estate of a nursing home resident. The record indicates that the family discovered that the woman developed several medical conditions and ailments while residing at the nursing facility. These conditions led her to experience debilitating pain and suffering and become liable for significant medical expenses up until her death.
Shortly after filing a medical malpractice claim against the facility, the estate became aware of an arbitration agreement the woman signed upon admission. Upon discovery of the agreement, the estate filed a motion to compel arbitration. The trial court ultimately denied the estate’s motion to compel arbitration, finding that the claim must first proceed through the process outlined in the Indiana Medical Malpractice Act (Act).
Indiana generally has a strong policy that favors enforcing arbitration agreements. In cases where a party motions the court to compel arbitration, the court will evaluate whether the parties agreed to arbitrate the specific dispute at issue. Like Indiana contract law, disputes often rely on the parties’ intent and the construction of the terms of an agreement.