When a Maryland family chooses a nursing home for their loved one to stay in during their last years of life, they want nothing more than the home to keep their loved one safe and well taken care of. Unfortunately, however, far too many Maryland families will experience the devastating impacts of nursing home abuse and neglect each year, which can lead to serious injuries or even premature death. While Maryland law allows the injured victims or their families to file a negligence suit against the nursing home for injuries and/or wrongful death, potential plaintiffs should keep in mind one common barrier to recovery: statutes of limitations. Statutes of limitations dictate how long a Maryland family has after an incident occurs to file suit against the nursing home. If the statute of limitations runs out, then the family is barred from filing suit and recovering even a penny from the nursing home.
Statute of limitations laws are strict and can bar a plaintiff who files even a few days too late. For example, take a recent state appellate case. According to the court’s written opinion, the deceased was hospitalized in February of 2012 due to severe abdominal pain. The institution caring for him ran a number of diagnostic tests and examinations but failed to administer a CT scan for a full week, even after a physician ordered one. When a CT scan was finally performed, it revealed the perforation of the victim’s colon and found that his bowel was failing. The victim died a few days later.
The victim’s wife, who was the plaintiff in this case, filed a wrongful death action in May of 2016, alleging negligence for not administering a CT scan sooner, which could have potentially saved her husband’s life. However, her suit was found to be barred by the statute of limitations. The court found that the statute of limitations for the plaintiff’s claim expired on May 27, 2016. The plaintiff filed on May 31, 2016, only four days later, but the court had no choice but to dismiss the suit. Tragically, the court in the opinion wrote that the evidence presented in the case did point towards negligence, meaning that the plaintiff may have been able to recover significant monetary damages against the hospital had she filed her suit just four days earlier.
When it comes to suing nursing homes for abuse or neglect, most Maryland plaintiffs have three years from when the abuse occurs to file a claim. There are ways to extend or pause the statute of limitations, however. For example, if the nursing home actively concealed the abuse or neglect from the plaintiff, they may be able to file later. However, the standard for proving this exception is high, and Maryland plaintiffs are encouraged to consult with an experienced attorney who can help.
Call a Maryland Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
From statutes of limitations to the difficulty of proving negligence, filing a Maryland nursing home abuse claim can be difficult on plaintiffs still recovering from the incident. Lebowitz & Mzhen, Personal Injury Lawyers, is here to help. Our attorneys cover a wide variety of claims, and have years of experience representing clients against nursing homes, hospitals, insurance companies, and other large defendants. With extensive knowledge of Maryland personal injury law, you can trust your case is in good hands with us. To learn more and schedule a free consultation, call 800-654-1949 today.