Our elderly population is particularly vulnerable to harmful or abusive acts by others. While it’s unfathomable to imagine someone committing such reprehensible acts, unfortunately, it occurs more often than one would think.
If you suspect a loved one in a nursing home may be experiencing abuse or neglect, speak to an attorney as soon as possible. Knowing how quickly to act after your suspect abuse is vital to preserving your claim. Speak with a qualified elder abuse attorney from Silva Injury Law Inc. to learn more about the statute of limitations for nursing home abuse or neglect and your options moving forward.
Is There a Nursing Home Abuse Statute of Limitations
Elder abuse cases, including nursing home neglect and nursing home abuse cases, fall under the umbrella of personal injury lawsuits. The statute of limitations for these cases in California is two years. However, understanding when the “clock” begins running may be more difficult. In nursing home neglect cases, the statute of limitations “clock” starts running on the date of the injury.
Unfortunately, nursing home neglect cases usually don’t include one single incident. Instead, elder abuse can be continuous and ongoing, with multiple instances occurring over time. In the unfathomable situation where the nursing home neglect or abuse results in the death of a loved one, the potential lawsuit may shift to a wrongful death claim. The statute of limitations for wrongful death is also two years but begins running on the date of death.
If your nursing home abuse or neglect case involves fraud, the statute of limitations is three years. For financial abuse, the statute of limitations is typically four years.
If you suspect nursing home abuse, speak to an attorney immediately to identify the necessary timeline for filing a lawsuit.
Are There Any Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations?
If you suspect elder abuse, you should never rely on any exceptions to the statute of limitations. Act quickly and speak with an attorney immediately at first suspicion. Nevertheless, there are some exceptions that may extend the time you have to file.
If you were unaware of the injury at the time it occurred, the statute of limitations will pause until you discover (or should have reasonably discovered) the injury. For example, in situations of financial abuse, family members may not learn that someone has been siphoning off their loved one’s funds until some time after it occurs.
If the abused person suffers from a mental incapacity, they may still be allowed to file a claim at a later time. Additionally, if the nursing home took steps to conceal abuse or neglect, that could extend the time to file.
It’s vital to speak with an attorney as soon as you discover the abuse or neglect to determine your best option forward.
What Is Elder Abuse?
The California Welfare and Institutions Code Section 15600 legally protects elders—anyone older than 65—and dependent adults from neglect and physical abuse. California’s Penal Code Section 368 defines elder abuse as occurring when a person knows that a victim is an elder and inflicts “unjustifiable pain or mental suffering” on them or willfully causes or permits them to suffer. Elder abuse also includes situations where a person willfully causes or permits an elder to be placed in a situation where caretakers endanger their health. Elder abuse may occur in various ways.
Physical abuse is the infliction of unjustifiable pain or injury on a senior. Physical abuse can take multiple forms, including using restraints, force-feeding, and improper administration of drugs.
Even without physical harm, emotional abuse takes the form of the following examples:
- Verbal assaults,
Emotional abuse is the intentional infliction of pain and psychological anguish. Without obvious physical signs, emotional abuse can be challenging to identify.
Sexual abuse is particularly horrific to contemplate. In a nursing home, sexual abuse includes any sexual content without consent. Elderly residents with cognitive issues can never give consent.
Financial abuse usually occurs when a family member, caretaker, or other close acquaintance takes advantage of an older adult’s vulnerable position and attempts to gain control of their finances. This can occur in several ways, including fraud, misuse of an older person’s assets or credit, or using undue influence to gain control of an older person’s money or property.
Neglect is usually more subtle and, therefore, harder to identify. Nursing home neglect can be intentional and unintentional, but it affects the victim’s emotional health. Negligence differs from physical abuse because it is usually a lack of action rather than an act itself. For example, neglect includes the following:
- Failure to provide necessary medical care and medication;
- Failure to provide basic food, clothing, and shelter;
- Failure to treat injuries; and
- Failure to provide prompt assistance or supervision.
If you suspect neglect, monitor the behavior you witness. Be sure to speak to an attorney immediately to begin discussing your case and moving your loved one to a safer place.
At Silva Injury Law, we understand the pain you must feel at discovering that your loved one may have been subjected to elder abuse or neglect by a trusted caregiver. We stand with you as you seek justice and protection for the harm your loved one has suffered. Our attorneys strive to treat all clients like family and look out for your best interest with a commitment to achieving the best resolution for you. Contact us today if you suspect an elderly family member may be suffering from elder abuse. We offer a free in-person or remote consultation to analyze the facts of your case.
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At Silva Injury Law we promote healing through compassionate advocacy. With each case tailored to the individual, we look our for your best interests by evaluating your unique circumstances. Contact us today for a FREE in person or remote consultation.