If you’re like many residents of Virginia, you have a loved one in a nursing home. Sadly, it can turn your world upside down if you learn that your elderly loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse. You can fight back, but it’s important to know how long you have to file a lawsuit.
What is nursing home abuse?
Nursing home abuse occurs when a person who works at a facility intentionally or even unintentionally abuses a resident and causes personal injury or even death. This is a widespread problem that often happens due to improper training, understaffing or lack of screening for staff before hiring them. Some nursing home staff members may even simply have a bad day and take out their frustrations on fragile, vulnerable residents.
There are different types of nursing home abuse. However, the signs of physical abuse might be the most obvious as they can leave a person dealing with personal injury. Emotional abuse and even sexual abuse of a nursing home resident might take longer to detect.
Neglect is another type of abuse that occurs when a nursing home resident is left to their own devices for long periods of time. It can result in personal injuries such as bedsores, infections, malnutrition and falls. An elderly resident might even wander from the nursing home facility and get lost, be injured or even die.
What is the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit?
As with all other types of personal injury cases, there is a set statute of limitations for filing a nursing home abuse lawsuit. This is the period of time you have to file a claim after becoming aware that your elderly loved one has been the victim of nursing home abuse or neglect. In Virginia, you have two years from the date that the injury occurred or when you became aware of the abuse.
Unfortunately, there are rare instances when a nursing home abuse case might have to be filed against the government. Such claims may be denied. If this happens in your case, you have the right to file a claim per the Federal Tort Claims Act, or FTCA. This requires a claim to be filed with an agency before it can be filed in court. If denied by the agency, the claim can be filed directly in court within six months of the denial date.
Don’t stand for nursing home abuse. It’s possible to fight back to protect the rights and dignity of your elderly loved one.