For the well-being of our loved ones in nursing homes, ensuring they receive proper care is paramount. However, in unfortunate cases where negligence or abuse occurs, seeking legal recourse is crucial.
One of the most important factors to consider is the statute of limitations—the time a person has to sue before their claim is no longer allowed in court. In California, the statute of limitations for nursing home negligence cases plays a significant role in pursuing justice.
California’s statute of limitations for nursing home abuse cases is typically two years. This means that the person who is suing the nursing home must do so within two years of the date on which the negligence or abuse occurred or when the plaintiff discovered (or should have discovered) it.
The discovery rule
It is important to note that the “discovery rule,” a provision in California law, allows people an extension in the statute of limitations under certain circumstances. The discovery rule acknowledges that victims may not always be aware of the abuse that is happening right away.
In those cases, the two-year period can seem unreasonable because it does not give the victim, or their family members, enough time to discover the abuse.
Exception for older adults
California understands the unique challenges faced by elderly people who may fall prey to abusers in nursing homes. If plaintiffs aged 65 and above cannot take part in the legal proceedings because of mental incapacity, California can pause the statute of limitations. This “pause” allows individuals a fair opportunity in their search for justice.
Timely action is still important
Despite the exceptions, it is critical to understand the two-year statute of limitations as the rule and to go by that instead of relying on exceptions. If you suspect nursing home negligence or abuse, it is critical to identify it and seek counsel as soon as possible in order to have the best chance at success in court.