What Is a Nursing Home Negligence Statute of Limitations?
A statute of limitations is a law that puts a deadline on the amount of time someone has to take legal action.
These laws are set by state governments and affect how long you have to file a civil lawsuit in cases of nursing home abuse or neglect.
The nursing home neglect statute of limitations varies by state, ranging from 1 year in states like Kentucky and Tennessee to up to 6 years in Maine and North Dakota.
Most states set their nursing home neglect statute of limitations between 2 and 3 years.
If your loved one is harmed in a care facility in another state, you will need to know the nursing home neglect statute of limitations for that state. We can connect you with top nursing home law firms in all 50 states to help you file a case if you qualify.
Once the statute of limitations has passed, you may not be able to pursue compensation through a nursing home settlement or hold abusive nursing homes accountable. Because of this, it’s crucial to file your nursing home abuse or wrongful death claim as soon as possible.
Working with a skilled nursing home abuse attorney is the best way to make sure your claim is filed within state deadlines.
Get a free case evaluation right now to find out if we can connect you with an experienced nursing home lawyer.
Why Do Nursing Home Negligence Statutes of Limitations Exist?
Statutes of limitations were put in place to make sure claimants take legal action in a timely manner.
If too much time passes after an incident, key witnesses may pass away or not clearly remember details of the events. This is especially true in cases of nursing home neglect or abuse, as residents are generally older adults who may have pre-existing mental or physical health conditions.
Statutes of limitations also allow courts to keep the legal process relatively fair for both the party suing (the plaintiff) and those being sued (the defendants).
Statutes of limitations allow plaintiffs to build and file a case with enough time to establish the facts and collect time-sensitive evidence.
On the other hand, statutes of limitations prevent lawsuits from being filed against defendants (like a nursing facility) decades later. Without these time limits, the defendant may be unable to gather witness statements or evidence to build a counterclaim.
State-by-State Guide to Nursing Home Neglect Statutes of Limitations
Below are the statutes of limitations in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. (District of Columbia).
All statutes of limitations listed apply to personal injury cases, as many nursing home abuse lawsuits are filed this way. Working with a lawyer is the best way to know if your case falls within the deadline.
Personal Injury Statute of Limitations Guide by State (2023):
- Alabama 2 years
- Alaska 2 years
- Arizona 2 years
- Arkansas 3 years
- California 2 years
- Colorado 2 years
- Connecticut 2 years
- Delaware 2 years
- Florida 4 years
- Georgia 2 years
- Hawaii 2 years
- Idaho 2 years
- Illinois 2 years
- Indiana 2 years
- Iowa 2 years
- Kansas 2 years
- Kentucky 1 year
- Louisiana 1 year
- Maine 6 years
- Maryland 3 years
- Massachusetts 3 years
- Michigan 3 years
- Minnesota 6 years
- Mississippi 3 years
- Missouri 5 years
- Montana 3 years
- Nebraska 4 years
- Nevada 2 years
- New Hampshire 3 years
- New Jersey 2 years
- New Mexico 3 years
- New York 3 years
- North Carolina 3 years
- North Dakota 6 years
- Ohio 2 years
- Oklahoma 2 years
- Oregon 2 years
- Pennsylvania 2 years
- Rhode Island 3 years
- South Carolina 3 years
- South Dakota 3 years
- Tennessee 1 year
- Texas 2 years
- Utah 4 years
- Vermont 3 years
- Virginia 2 years
- Washington 3 years
- Washington, D.C. 3 years
- West Virginia 2 years
- Wisconsin 3 years
- Wyoming 4 years
Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers and Statutes of Limitations
Generally, victims of nursing home abuse and neglect have at least a one-year statute of limitations to take legal action against a facility.
However, statutes of limitations are tricky because:
- The statutes can be hard to understand without legal help
- They are set by the state in which the harm was done (which could be confusing if you live in a different state)
- They aren’t set in stone and change over time
- There may be exceptions to the statutes that apply to your case
Therefore, it is strongly recommended that you work with a skilled nursing home lawyer. Experienced nursing home lawyers will help to ensure your case is filed within the applicable nursing home negligence statute of limitations.
Are There Exceptions to Nursing Home Negligence Statute of Limitations?
While every state has nursing home negligence statutes of limitations, state laws may allow for exceptions in some cases.
Further, some states prevent government-run assisted living facilities from being sued more than 1 year after the negligence took place.
Exceptions to a nursing home negligence statute of limitations may apply if:
- The defendant intentionally misrepresents or fraudulently conceals evidence/facts
- The injury resulting from the abuse did not appear until a later time
- The plaintiff had a mental or physical incapacity due to the injury or abuse and couldn’t file a claim
The exceptions for nursing home neglect statutes of limitations can vary from state to state. Consulting with a nursing home neglect attorney is generally the best way to determine if any exceptions to the statutes of limitations will apply in your case.
File a Lawsuit Within the Nursing Home Negligence Statute of Limitations
It’s critical to file your lawsuit before the nursing home negligence statute of limitations passes. Your family can only receive justice and financial compensation through a lawsuit if it’s filed on time.
Key points about nursing home negligence statutes of limitations include:
- They range from 1-6 years and vary by state
- They prevent you from filing lawsuits if time runs out
- A lawyer can help you file within your state’s statute of limitations
FAQs About Nursing Home Negligence Statute of Limitations
What is the statute of limitations on nursing home negligence?
The statute of limitations for nursing home negligence varies by state, with many states allowing 2 or 3 years to file.
The most accurate way to understand the statutes that apply to your case is by consulting with an experienced lawyer.
Get in touch with the Nursing Home Abuse Center right now for a free case review. We may be able to connect you with a top nursing home lawyer to discuss your situation in detail.
How long do you have to file a lawsuit against a nursing home?
Nursing home negligence statutes of limitations generally range from 1-6 years. However, it depends on the laws in the state where neglect occurs.
Working with an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer is the best way to ensure you and your family members file before the deadline passes.
When does the statute of limitations start in nursing home abuse cases?
The statute of limitations usually starts once the nursing home abuse occurs or is discovered.
However, since every case is different, you should reach out to a lawyer to see when the nursing home neglect statute of limitations starts in your case.
Personal injury lawyers with experience handling nursing home neglect and abuse claims can help you understand how long you have to file a claim.
Do nursing home negligence statutes of limitations change?
Yes. Since statutes of limitations are set by state laws, they may change over time as the laws get updated.
While this can make it harder for you and your family to understand your own deadline, don’t worry. A skilled nursing home attorney will ensure that your case is filed before the current statute of limitations.
Do statutes of limitations vary between civil and criminal cases?
Yes, statutes of limitations vary between civil and criminal cases, often with criminal cases having longer (or no) limitations depending on the severity of the crime.
Most nursing home abuse cases fall under civil law. However, they may sometimes fall under criminal law if there is an act of violence, such as physical assault or sexual abuse.
Can I file a lawsuit after the statute of limitations has passed?
You will not likely be able to file a nursing home abuse lawsuit after the statute of limitations has passed in your case. However, don’t assume anything until you connect with a lawyer.
Even if you think the nursing home neglect statute of limitations has run out, a lawyer can confirm if there is still time to file your lawsuit. Get a free case review now to see if we can help.