A nursing home abuse statute of limitations refers to the maximum time the elderly victim or their family members have following a nursing home's wrongdoing to file a claim to recover the damages. These may vary from one state to another, and there may be exceptions under the law.
Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys have extensive experience successfully handling nursing home abuse cases, and they have recovered more than $1 billion for their clients.
Concerned family members and victims of elder abuse in Dallas, Texas, should reach out to them to have their rights protected and get the compensation they deserve. They can help advise on Who you report nursing home abuse to in Texas.
What Are the Signs of Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect?
According to the National Institute on Aging (NIA), various forms of mistreatment, including physical, emotional, financial, and sexual abuse, can affect the elderly in nursing homes, making them potential victims of one or more of these abuses.
It's essential for family members to identify the signs of nursing home abuse to help them determine whether they may have a valid case. They should look out for the following:
Changes in mood, personality, and behavior
Depression and anxiety
Unexplained bruises and markings on the victim's body
Broken bones and fractures
Deteriorating health condition
The warning signs can vary between the different types of abuse. An elderly may have markings on their body from choking or slapping, for example, but they may not show any physical signs of emotional harm.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Nursing Home Abuse in Texas?
Governed by Texas Civ. Prac. & Rem. Section 16.003(a), the statute of limitations for elder abuse cases in Texas is two years, starting from the date the abuse began.
It's important to bring a civil action within two years, as failure to do so can lead to a case dismissal.
Concerned families and affected parties need to work with an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer to discuss their case and find out the time they have left to pursue a claim or a lawsuit.
Are There Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations for a Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuit in Texas?
There are some exceptions to the statute of limitations for nursing home abuse cases in Texas, which can put a pause or hold on the time limit. These may include the following:
Unsound mind: Sometimes, the nursing home abuse victim may not be in their right mind to pursue a lawsuit. If that is the case, the Texas law allows an exception for individuals who lack the capacity to take legal action.
Fraudulent concealment: In some cases, the defendants may be fraudulently concealing the harm done to the plaintiffs (nursing home residents). When that happens, the law places a hold on the statute of limitations, and it does not begin until the injured victim or their legal counsel discovers the damage done.
Delayed injuries: Nursing home abuse can lead to delayed injuries, and when that happens, the clock does not start ticking for the claimant until they discover the harm done.
Why Do Nursing Home Statute of Limitations Exist?
The primary purpose of implementing a nursing home statute of limitations is that the injured parties may take legal action immediately after discovering the harm done.
Waiting too long before taking legal action could have serious repercussions on personal injury cases. Witnesses may pass away, or evidence of nursing home neglect may slowly disappear, which can adversely affect the claim or lawsuit.
The nursing home residents are senior people who may already be suffering from pre-existing mental conditions. They may not remember the abuse clearly or have a hazy memory, which is why it's crucial to immediately pursue legal action against the nursing home and its negligent staff.
With a specified time frame to bring nursing home neglect lawsuits, the statute of limitations is not only intended to encourage the victims to take action but also to protect the defendants.
The statute of limitations protects the defendants from cases being filed decades later. As time passes, witnesses may have fading memories, and the defendant may be unable to gather enough evidence to build a counterclaim. This doctrine ensures a fair legal landscape for both sides.
Can the Elderly File Nursing Home Abuse Lawsuits after the Statute of Limitations Expires?
When the nursing home negligence statute of limitations expires, the elderly or their concerned family members lose the right to pursue legal action against the defendant.
However, it's important to note that there are exceptions to the law. Even if the victims believe that the nursing home negligence statute of limitations has run out, they must speak to an experienced attorney.
Nursing home abuse lawyers have the skills and expertise to help assess the case and determine whether there is still time to pursue legal action.
Is There a Difference Between the Nursing Home Abuse Statute of Limitations in Civil and Criminal Cases?
The nursing home negligence statutes of limitations for civil cases are much shorter than the time frame the law allows for prosecutors in criminal cases.
Sometimes, the elder abuse case may fall within the scope of both the civil and criminal justice system. Physical assault and sexual abuse are acts of violence, and such cases may have a much longer statute of limitations for prosecutors to bring action than the time frame allotted to victims under the personal injury law.
How Can Loved Ones Know If They Have a Valid Nursing Home Abuse Case?
When pursuing medical malpractice claims or any other lawsuit, the affected parties must investigate the incident and gather the necessary evidence to determine if they have a valid case. The same is true for nursing home abuse cases.
A concerned family member may have a valid case if they can successfully prove that the nursing home violated its duty of care towards their loved one (the elderly person). It's essential to show that the victim suffered injuries due to the facility's negligence.
It can be challenging to determine whether one has a valid case without the help of an experienced nursing home abuse attorney. They can help with questions such as How do I report nursing home abuse in Texas?
Concerned family members should seek legal counsel, as a skilled lawyer can help gather evidence from many different sources, including the following:
Past violations by the nursing home
Experienced Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers Can Help Concerned Family Members in Texas!
It can be devastating for a family member to see their loved one in physical and emotional pain arising from the nursing home abuse. They should seek legal help immediately to schedule a free consultation with the experienced personal injury lawyers at Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys to learn more about their rights and legal options.