What Is The Statute Of Limitations For Nursing Home Abuse Claims?
Typically, the statute of limitations is two years, because there is a medical malpractice component to all of these cases. Sometimes, there is a four-year statute of limitations claim, but to be safe, we are typically operating under a two-year statute. There is the exception that if it is a government-owned, or operated facility, and then we are operating under a one-year statute of limitations, so we can at least provide notice of our intent to bring a lawsuit.
Can I Step In For An Incapacitated Loved One In A Nursing Home Negligence Claim?
Absolutely, anyone can step up to help a loved one if they are no longer able to make decisions on their own. In fact, family members, using a power of attorney protocol, represent most of our clients. In the wrongful death case, of course, it is the family themselves that are the clients, bringing the lawsuit. Therefore, it really depends on the nature of the action.
What Are The Next Steps After Setting Up A Power Of Attorney?
One of the reasons why these folks are in these nursing homes is because they are incapable of caring for themselves. Typically, there is already a power of attorney in place. If that is not the case, we meet with the elderly client and sit down with them and their family members to discuss who is best to represent them if they should become incapacitated. There are some cases where the elderly person feels that he or she is capable, so we are more than happy to proceed with that.
The acceleration in terms of just how their health declines often render that person incapable of bringing a lawsuit. That is typically when family members will step in to help.
What Steps Should I Take If I Suspect That A Loved One Has Been The Victim Of Nursing Home Negligence?
First, the family member should contact any licensing agencies in the state that they are in if they suspect nursing home abuse. In Utah, you can contact the Department of Health, and they will put you in contact with the appropriate investigators to investigate the suspected abuse. Secondly, and it is not even in an order, but you should immediately contact an experienced attorney in nursing home negligence cases. Now, as we talked earlier, oftentimes these cases hinge on evidence, and unfortunately, in most of these cases, all the evidence resides in the nursing homes.
It requires an experienced attorney who knows how the legal maneuvers work so they can preserve the necessary evidence essential in prosecuting the claim against the facility. Contact investigators, licensing agencies, and contact an experienced attorney.
How Can An Experienced Attorney Assist Me In A Nursing Home Negligence Case?
What is absolutely essential, and what most people do not realize is nursing home negligence cases are a specialty that requires experience knowing how to navigate the respective laws that apply to nursing homes. In Utah, we have an administrative code dedicated just to the administration of nursing homes. An attorney that only does auto accidents, and then on occasion does a nursing home case, does not have the experience necessary to truly know what is necessary to win one of these cases.
That is why we also encourage people, whether they are hiring our firm, or another, to ask their attorneys “How many cases do you handle like these, and how many cases like these have you taken to trial”? “How many cases like these do you currently have, and are you going to be able to dedicate the time necessary to truly do a good job on this type of case”, because nursing home cases are very time-sensitive. You are looking at volumes and volumes of medical histories, records, and then knowing how the administrative code applies to those records, and to the potential negligence. To cut a long story short, you need an experienced attorney that handles these cases day in and day out.
Important Additional Information About Nursing Home Negligence Claims
The biggest thing that people need to realize is oftentimes there are these families that are hesitant to bring a case against the nursing home. Oftentimes, that hesitancy is because people feel guilty, “Well, I put father or my mother here in this home. Maybe I am at fault because I did not do enough to investigate this home or whatever it may be”. However, the truth is this, we take our loved ones to these facilities, we trust them, and we rely on their promises of vigilance, safety, supervision, and training. We have a right to rely on those promises. When those promises are broken through the violation of safety rules, and because of it, one of our loved ones is harmed or even killed. We have a right to seek justice not only for our loved ones but also for ourselves and for the rest of the community.
This really is a community issue. As our baby-boomer population is growing older, we are going to see more and more of our loved ones go into these homes. We have to set expectations and rights now. Whether that is through the lawsuit, or bringing cases against these facilities to make sure they are following the safety rules, we all have the right to hold these nursing homes responsible for fulfilling their promises they made to us. We should not ever feel guilty for bringing a lawsuit for a violation of those promises. That is one thing I want to get across to the public. We have an expectation that people do what they say they are going to do. When they do not do it, we have a right to a remedy.
I have grandparents in these homes now, and some of these cases hit close to home. I think everyone can relate, everyone has had a loved one that is advanced in age, and we all wrestle with what we are going to do when the time comes when those folks cannot take care of themselves anymore. Oftentimes, we are faced with situations where we have to trust others. When that trust is violated, there is a sense of trial there, and it is not only against our loved ones, but it is on us as well.
For more information on Statute Of Limitations For Nursing Home Negligence Claims, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (801) 499-5060 today.