Every state limits the amount of time a victim has to file a case for nursing home abuse and neglect. This time limit is called the statute of limitations. This deadline encourages victims to file a lawsuit quickly in order to preserve evidence. This deadline also exists to allow possible defendants the certainty that after a period of time, they no longer need to worry about legal liability for any actions.
If a victim fails to file a lawsuit regarding nursing home abuse or neglect within the time limit established in their state, they generally lose all rights to sue for compensation regarding any injuries or damages. The court dismisses any complaint filed after the statute of limitations expires, and the court will not hold the nursing home liable for any damages you claim your loved one suffered.
The statute of limitations timeline begins to run as soon as the injured elderly person either knows or should have known that they sustained injuries, and that those injuries resulted from nursing home abuse or neglect. In nursing home lawsuits, the patients usually suffer from memory loss, dementia, or Alzheimer’s disease. These conditions will limit their ability to understand that they suffered abuse and who perpetrated this abuse upon them.
For example, when an elderly person falls in a nursing home due to the staff’s neglect, the starting date for the statute of limitations is easy to determine. However, if the elderly person suffered bedsores, determining when these bedsores developed can be difficult to compute. In cases where an elderly person is determined to have a legal disability and are unable to handle their own legal affairs, the statute of limitations never begins until the removal of the disability. In many of these cases, for elderly residents with advanced memory loss conditions, there is no statute of limitations deadline. However, it is important to note that in these cases, a lawsuit should still begin promptly as the memory of an elderly victim may fade quickly, resulting in the loss of critical evidence.
Your Nursing Home Abuse Case
While a few years to take action seems like a long period of time, the independent investigation required of a nursing home abuse or neglect case is lengthy and complex. Often, expert witnesses must testify to the abuse or neglect. Additionally, witnesses and nursing home staff members or residents must provide additional testimony regarding the abuse or neglect. A few years is not a long period of time to build a strong personal injury case regarding nursing home abuse and neglect.
Also, lawsuits against nursing homes related to elderly abuse and neglect typically rest on either medical malpractice against a treating doctor or medical facility or negligence on the part of the nursing home facility. Visiting with an attorney can help you determine how best to file your nursing home lawsuit. Legal counsel can also help you determine if additional filing requirements or deadlines are applicable for filing expert opinions or verifications of the validity of the nursing home abuse or neglect claims.
Reasons You Should Not Wait to Take Legal Action
If you begin to pursue a lawsuit close to the statute of limitations deadline date, you may find it challenging to develop a full investigation and build a strong nursing home abuse or neglect case on behalf of your family member. Additionally, the evidence regarding the case, as well as witnesses, are easier to locate immediately after any allegation of elderly abuse or neglect.
Also, many elderly persons suffer from memory loss, dementia, and/or Alzheimer’s disease. Waiting over a year to begin a nursing home abuse or neglect case may simply be too long for them to remember details regarding the abuse, or for them to remember the abuse at all. Speeding up the process of the investigation preserves critical evidence that builds a solid foundation for a nursing home abuse or neglect lawsuit.
Finally, the sooner you start a lawsuit, the sooner it finishes. If you are facing medical bills or therapy bills resulting from your elderly loved one’s abuse or neglect in a nursing home, the sooner you file a lawsuit, the sooner you will know whether you receive compensation to help pay for these unexpected costs.
Contact a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Today
If you are considering filing a lawsuit against a nursing home on behalf of your loved one that suffered abuse and neglect, speaking with an attorney can help you understand your rights, and help you build a strong legal case. Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm at (800) 842-6336 to help you begin the process to receive a financial award for your elderly loved one’s injuries.