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What is the Statute of Limitations to File a Nursing Home Lawsuit?

nursing-home-abuse-lawsuit-illinois-time-to-file-lawsuit Family members often come to us after their loved one has been injured in a nursing home, asking us whether they can seek compensation for what happened to their loved one.

Many families will come to us right after the injury for a free case evaluation to begin the legal process.

However, some families may wait until some time after their loved one has suffered physical harm.

Waiting too long could jeopardize your chances of receiving a financial award.

You should act quickly to avoid missing the time deadline (statute of limitations) to file a lawsuit against a nursing home or an assisted living facility.

If you have not spoken with a lawyer yet, call our law firm today for a free consultation.

What Is the Statute of Limitations?

Every state puts a strict time deadline on your ability to file a lawsuit. This is called the statute of limitations. The legal system aims to be fair to everyone.

Even if someone has done something wrong, the law tries to protect them from personal injury claims far into the future. This includes nursing homes, even if they have committed inexcusable acts such as medical malpractice or elder abuse.

The statute of limitations is a strict time deadline that keeps you from filing a lawsuit past a certain date.

For any court, this is a jurisdictional issue - meaning that they cannot hear a case that was filed past the statute of limitations.

The Illinois Statute of Limitations

The Illinois statute of limitations for personal injury cases (including medical malpractice claims) is found at 735 ILCS 5/13-202. In any case, you have two years from the date that your cause of action "accrues" to file a nursing home abuse lawsuit.

Accrual is a legal word that is something different from just the date of injury. This is the time when you realized that your loved one was injured at the hands of the nursing home. This is an important distinction.

In many cases, you do not realize that your loved one was abused right when it happened. The same thing goes for neglect cases.

The time clock for a nursing home abuse case begins to run when you learned that your loved one was injured at the hands of the nursing home.

The Consequences for Missing the Statute of Limitations

Statutes of limitations are virtually an absolute deadline on your ability to file lawsuits against nursing homes or assisted living facilities.

The court only has the ability to hear claims for negligence and violations of Illinois nursing home statutes if you file the claim within the right period of time.

If you miss the statute of limitations, the court will dismiss your case. This is not the same thing as losing a case against the nursing home facility in front of the jury.

The court will not even hear the merits of nursing home lawsuits if statutes of limitations are missed. Unless one of a limited number of exceptions apply, it will be the end of your case.

Do not put yourself in a position where you forfeit your legal right to file nursing home abuse cases.

Our personal injury lawyer will give you a prompt free legal consultation so you are comfortably within the time limit.

Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations

There are very few exceptions to statutes of limitations that can help your family if you miss the time deadline.

Even still, these exceptions are very strictly construed by the court, and you should not bank on one of them applying in your case.

If you are in the position of needing to argue that an exception to the statute of limitations applies, you are already in a bad position.

If the nursing home actively hid their actions and kept you from learning of the grounds for the lawsuit, you may be able to get an exception if you missed the deadline.

Nursing homes must turn over medical records because they belong to your family. However, they sometimes make it difficult. If you had a long struggle to obtain the necessary records, this could possibly allow for an exception.

However, the law expects you to be diligent in learning possible grounds for a lawsuit.

If you think that your loved one's injuries were caused by a violation of the nursing home negligence statute or abuse, you should get professional medical advice and contact a lawyer quickly to begin to work on your case while you are within the limitations range.

Difficulties With Discovering Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect

Many elderly residents suffer from some form of cognitive decline. Many have Alzheimer's disease, and they lack the ability to verbalize what has happened to them.

If they have suffered nursing home abuse, your family may not discover it right away. You may only learn the grounds for nursing home abuse cases after some time has passed.

Some types of nursing home abuse are not discoverable right away.

For example, you may not learn that your loved one was the victim of financial abuse until you get account statements or realize that money was missing from the account.

You Should Not Wait to Take Legal Action

Families face real consequences when they wait to file a nursing home lawsuit. The closer to the statute of limitations that you get, the more it restricts your legal options and your ability to negotiate with the nursing home.

The sooner you take legal action, the better off your family is. First, your family may want closure from the trauma and anger that you have experienced after nursing home injuries.

Second, the legal process for an abuse of neglect case can take years, and you should schedule a free case evaluation now to begin the process.

Nursing Home Attorneys Need Time to Work

Your free case review is just the beginning of the legal process. If you are filing a lawsuit in court, you need to have enough facts and evidence when you draft the legal complaint.

Otherwise, your legal action would be at risk of being dismissed by the court. A nursing home will take advantage of every opportunity that they have to defeat neglect cases, and you should not play into their hands by surrendering valuable time for your attorney to work.

It takes time for elder abuse attorneys to assemble the evidence that you need to file a viable lawsuit.

While you will obtain some evidence in the discovery part of your case, you still need to start with enough proof to get you to that stage of the case.

The Many Forms of Nursing Home Neglect and Abuse

Here are some examples of abuse or neglect that could be the reason why you file a lawsuit against the nursing home:

  • Your loved one suffered an infected pressure sore because nursing home staff did not regularly change their position and then did not provide the proper care once the bedsore developed
  • A nursing home staff member physically abused your loved one, or the nursing home failed to protect them from physical or sexual abuse committed by their fellow residents
  • Your family member developed a urinary tract infection because nursing home staff ignored their hygiene and did not regularly change and shower them
  • A staff member stole money from your loved one or used their identity to open up credit cards

Whatever injury your loved one suffered, our law firm will work with you to help your family obtain financial compensation.

Your Legal Rights in an Abuse or Neglect Case

In a personal injury case against the nursing home, your family must show that the nursing home was negligent. You can also file a lawsuit for an intentional tort, such as nursing home abuse.

You have the burden of proof in any nursing home neglect case or legal action for abuse to show that your allegations are more likely than not to have happened.

If you meet your burden of proof, your family members will be eligible for financial compensation from the nursing home.

If you meet statutes of limitations and file a complaint that alleges facts and a legal basis for compensation, you will get your day in court.

Our personal injury lawyers will tell your loved one's story and show how the nursing home violated state laws and federal nursing home regulations.

Call Us for a Free Legal Case Review

Our personal injury lawyers are standing by and ready to help you when a family member has been injured by nursing home neglect or abuse.

The attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers can give you the legal help you need, when you are filing an abuse or neglect lawsuit or a medical malpractice claim against a nursing home.

We help families just like yours in personal injury cases, standing up for you against powerful nursing homes and their expensive lawyers.

Call us today at (888) 424-5757 or reach out to us online as the first step of forming our attorney client relationship.

We will give you a general idea of the legal process and how it may work for your family. Moreover, our attorneys can provide you with insight as to how the statute of limitations will apply to your situation.

Nursing Home Abuse FAQ

Here are some of the questions that we are asked by families when their loved one has been injured in a nursing home:

What Are Things That May Be Considered Nursing Home Abuse?

Nursing home abuse goes beyond physical. There are several other types of abuse that could be grounds for a lawsuit against a nursing home. They include:

  • Financial abuse
  • Sexual assault
  • Emotional abuse
  • Verbal abuse
  • Neglect

If your loved one suffered abuse, a nursing home abuse lawyer will vigorously fight to hold the facility accountable.

How Do Nursing Home Abuse Attorneys Help My Family?

Nursing home residents and their families may have limited power when it comes to enforcing their rights under the nursing home negligence statute.

Not only must you gather evidence, but you must deal with the constant attempts by the nursing home to defeat your case or pay you as little as possible.

They have law firms at their disposal, so you need an experienced attorney to meet them head-on.

What Can My Family Recover in a Nursing Home Abuse Case?

If you can show a violation of the nursing home negligence statutes, you can recover the following damages:

  • Medical bills
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Wrongful death damages if your loved one died from their injuries
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Jonathan did a great job helping my family navigate through a lengthy lawsuit involving my grandmother's death in a nursing home. Through every step of the case, Jonathan kept my family informed of the progression of the case. Although our case eventually settled at a mediation, I really was impressed at how well prepared Jonathan was to take the case to trial. Lisa