How Long Do I Have To Pursue A Nursing Home Abuse Case In Arizona?
When an elderly loved one needs the care of professionally trained medical staff, the family may feel they have no choice but to trust the care of their loved one to a nursing facility. This can be a very difficult decision to make. Naturally, you would expect your loved one to be well looked after. Sadly, far too often, abuse and neglect occur instead.
When the abuse is discovered, the natural reaction is to want to see the offender punished. But what if you only recently learned that your loved one was abused some time ago? Perhaps due to dementia, he or she could not report it immediately. Or maybe, due to the type of abuse, such as financial fraud, some time has passed before evidence was found. In such a scenario, can a case of abuse still be pursued in Arizona even though some time has passed?
If you or your loved one are dealing with this situation, call Phillips Law Group as soon as possible at (800) 706-3000 to speak with one of our compassionate personal injury lawyers. Our team boasts decades of experience and can help you to file your case before it’s too late. You can get justice and compensation for your loved one!
Types of Nursing Home Abuse
There are two forms of nursing home abuse, intentional acts or through neglect. The office of the Attorney General of Arizona lists the following types of nursing home abuse:
- Physical: This includes bodily harm against a nursing home resident. Examples of physical abuse include punching, pushing, kicking, restraining, tripping, and even overmedicating and force-feeding.
- Emotional: This is the most common type of nursing home abuse. Making threats, yelling, insulting, and making degrading remarks are some examples. Emotional abuse can also be nonverbal, such as isolation or ignoring requests for help.
- Sexual: Undesired sexual acts of any kind are abuse. Examples include groping, touching, forced nudity, and verbal sexual harassment. At times, a nursing home resident may be too weak or ill to give consent or fend off sexual attacks.
- Financial: Unauthorized use of a resident’s assets is a type of abuse. In addition to outright stealing, an employee may manipulate a resident into giving money to him or her. Some examples include stealing credit cards or valuables, coercing a senior to sign documents such as a power of attorney, and stealing directly from a resident’s banking account.
- Neglect: This occurs when a nursing home caregiver fails to provide the basic necessities of life such as food, water, medical care, and hygiene. Failing to provide activities, leaving residents unattended, and missing medication doses are common examples.
Statute of limitations for Nursing Home Abuse Cases in Arizona
Every state has established laws to determine how much time a victim or his or her family has to file a case of nursing home abuse. This time limit is called a statute of limitations. In Arizona, there is no specific statute of limitations for nursing home abuse. The following laws generally govern cases of nursing home abuse.
Personal injury is a general area of law that encompasses all types of abuses that occur in a nursing home. When a person has been physically, mentally, or emotionally injured by the negligent or willful act of another, it is considered a personal injury. The statute of limitations for a personal injury case in Arizona is 2 years from the date of the incident.
Although medical malpractice falls under the umbrella of a personal injury lawsuit, there is a slight difference as to when the two-year statute of limitations could begin. Arizona follows the “discovery rule.”
According to this rule, the statute of limitations “clock” starts running when a patient discovers that medical negligence has occurred. Such a case would be when a doctor negligently delays administering a test that would have resulted in the patient receiving treatment a lot sooner. The two years start from the time the patient found this out.
Arizona law defines wrongful death as being caused by a wrongful act. So when a nursing home resident passes away as a result of abuse or negligence of the staff, it is considered to be wrongful death. State law allows the surviving spouse, child, parent, or personal representative to file a lawsuit to hold the negligent party responsible.
The statute of limitations for a wrongful death claim in Arizona is 2 years from the date of the death of the loved one. However, the starting date for the statute of limitations can be different from the date when the injury occurred.
Arizona law stipulates that the date could also be when the injury is discovered or should have reasonably been discovered. This is known as “tolling” and is relevant in nursing home abuse cases, since a senior resident may be suffering from dementia, for instance. In such a case, abuse may not be immediately discovered.
What to Do If the Statute of Limitations Has Expired
A concern may be what if the statute of limitations has already passed? Does the victim or his or her family still have a right to pursue compensation for damages? These are valid questions.
States establish statutes of limitations to make it fair for both the victim and the accused. Therefore, once the statute of limitations has passed, it may not be possible to hold the at-fault person liable for damages. If a lawsuit is brought forth after the allowed time, the defendant would simply request a motion from the court for dismissal.
However, do not assume that the statute of limitations has expired for your case. It is always wise to speak with a knowledgeable nursing home abuse lawyer before refusing to pursue compensation. There may be exceptions that apply to your particular case.
Do Not Wait to Talk to the Personal Injury Lawyers of Phillips Law Group
The two-year statute of limitations allowed in Arizona for pursuing a personal injury case may seem like a lot of time. However, waiting to initiate your case may actually prove to be more harmful. Important evidence that is crucial to your case may be more difficult to locate. Vital documents may be lost, witnesses may be difficult to find, to mention a few examples.
This is why it is of the utmost importance to speak with a personal injury lawyer at Phillips Law Group today! Our lawyers have years of experience in handling all types of personal injury cases, including nursing home abuse. When you work with us, your attorney will be familiar with the process and rules of pursuing a nursing home abuse case. This includes making sure documents are filed in a timely manner.
The personal injury lawyers of Phillips Law Group have helped more than 155,000 clients in over 25 years. We can get your loved one the justice he or she deserves. Our lawyers will even argue your case in court if it becomes necessary to do so.
Call our law firm today at (800) 706-3000 for a free consultation! We can make your legal options clear to you so you are not left struggling alone.
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