In Indiana, nursing home abuse and neglect victims have the right to sue a facility when injuries or premature death occur as a result of an employee’s negligence or abuse. However, potential plaintiffs should be aware of one common barrier to successful recovery in these suits: the statute of limitations. Indiana law allows plaintiffs to file suit for up to two years after the abuse or neglect occurs. Generally, if a plaintiff files suit even one day late their case is barred and there can be no recovery.
Because the statute of limitations is so strict, and has potentially devastating consequences on plaintiffs, parties often argue about when the statute of limitation period begins. For example, when did the abuse or neglect actually occur? This question is the source of much litigation, with nursing homes always wanting to argue that the period of time began earlier, in order to have a better chance at barring a plaintiff’s claim. However, there are some doctrines to protect plaintiffs from this behavior.
For example, if a nursing home uses fraud and deception to conceal an injury or incident after it happens, the plaintiff may not even know there is anything to file suit about. In this situation, the court might find that the statute of limitations began at a later date, or was paused for a period of time, to give the plaintiff meaningful time to file suit. This doctrine, while helpful to plaintiffs, can be difficult to establish.
For example, take a recent state appellate case. According to the court’s written opinion, the victim was potentially subjected to medical neglect and negligence while hospitalized. When the victim passed away, his wife filed a wrongful death suit. The statute of limitations for the suit seemed to have expired, barring the claim. However, the plaintiff argued that the statute of limitations period should be extended because of fraud.
According to the plaintiff, the hospital had misrepresented the facts surrounding her husband’s death and was concealing the fact that their failure to order a CT scan for her husband resulted in his death. While the court found some evidence of negligence and potential medical malpractice in the evidence presented, the plaintiff did not produce enough evidence to meet the standard of fraud. Fraud, unlike negligence, requires intent to conceal and misrepresent. Without meeting this standard, the plaintiff’s suit could not move forward.
Have You or a Loved One Suffered from Nursing Home Abuse?
If you or a loved one has recently been subjected to nursing home abuse or neglect in Indiana, contact the dedicated injury lawyers at Parr Richey Frandsen Patterson Kruse. Our Indiana personal injury law firm is devoted to representing Indiana clients in their claims and can help you obtain the compensation you and your family deserve. We promise to work hard and zealously defend your rights, so you can focus on healing in the aftermath of an accident. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation, call us today at 888-532-7766, you can also visit us online.