Almost all tort actions must be brought within a certain amount of time otherwise the plaintiff is barred from bringing their suit. This is called the “statute of limitations,” and once it has run out, the plaintiff is out of luck. However, an opinion by the Court of Appeals of Indiana recently held that fraudulent concealment can act to toll the statute of limitations.
Alldredge v. Good Samaritan Home, Inc.
In Alldredge v. Good Samaritan Home, Inc., the plaintiff group was the family of a woman who was in the care of Good Samaritan Nursing Home. The woman had died, purportedly due to a fall that she suffered because of a pre-existing medical condition. However, several years after the death of their loved one, a former nursing-home employee told the family that their loved one didn’t die because of a fall.
Apparently, the nursing home covered up the fact that the woman actually had been involved in a fight with another nursing home resident, which caused her to fall. When the woman’s family filed suit against the nursing home twenty-three months after they learned the truth, the nursing home claimed that the 2-year statute of limitations had run and therefore the family didn’t have a case.
The Trial Court Decision Below
The trial court agreed with the nursing home and dismissed the case. The court explained that the nursing home’s “fraudulent concealment” acted to toll the statute of limitations, but the family still did not bring the suit within a reasonable amount of time.
The Court of Appeals Decision
The Court of Appeals disagreed with the lower court, reversing its judgment. The court held that the nursing home’s fraudulent concealment tolled the statute of limitations and the woman’s family was entitled to the entire 2-year period, starting when they first learned of what actually happened to their loved one. Thus, the plaintiffs were able to bring their suit against the nursing home.
How This Case Affects Indiana Personal Injury Plaintiffs
This case created some favorable law for Indiana personal injury plaintiff because it clearly held that fraudulent concealment will toll the statute of limitations for a tort action and that the plaintiff will then have a full 2-year period to bring the suit. The date the fraudulent concealment is discovered acts as the trigger-date to begin the full statute of limitations.
Are You Involved in an Indiana Personal Injury Lawsuit?
If you are currently involved in an Indiana personal injury lawsuit, or you are considering bringing a negligence suit of any kind, be sure to speak to an experienced Indiana personal injury attorney as soon as possible. With an attorney’s help, you will be able to better understand the legal landscape in which your claims must be brought. This will increase your case’s overall chance for success. To speak to a dedicated personal injury attorney, click here, or call 866-987-7277.
Bill Designed to Increase the Quality of Care in Nursing Homes One Step Closer to Becoming Law, Indiana Accident Attorneys, February 24, 2014.
What is Summary Judgment in an Indiana Personal Injury Cases?, Indiana Accident Attorneys, February 10, 2014.