Let’s suppose that there is a very important event coming up in your life – your parents’ golden wedding anniversary party or your child’s last middle school basketball game. The event takes place as scheduled, but you don’t get there until the lights are turned off and the door is locked. Maybe you got the date wrong or were confused about the location. It really doesn’t matter. You missed the big event, and there is no way to wind back the clock.
The statute of limitations in a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit is similar to this situation. If your claim is not filed by the deadline, you have no opportunity to pursue damages, metaphorically speaking.
Facts of the Case
In the case of Shobe v. GGNSC Louisville Mt. Holly, LLC, the plaintiff was the administratrix of the estate of a woman who died in May 2007. The administratrix filed suit against the defendant nursing home owners in August 2011, alleging that the defendant’s violation of certain duties owed to the woman as a resident of a long-term care facility caused her personal injuries and eventually death. In particular, the administratrix asserted that the defendant had violated Kentucky Revised Statutes § 216.515, the Kentucky Residents’ Rights Statute. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendant, holding that the administratrix’s claims were time-barred. The administratrix appealed.
Holding of the Kentucky Court of Appeals
On appeal, the court affirmed, phrasing the issue as whether claims brought under § 216.515 are subject to a one-year statute of limitations inasmuch as they are akin to “personal injury claims,” or whether they are subject to a five-year statute of limitations because they are “statutorily-created rights.” In analyzing the various claims brought by the administratrix, the court found that some injuries of which she complained fit squarely within the traditional parameters of a personal injury suit and were thus barred because they were not filed within one year.
With regard to certain other claims, however, the court found that the five-year statute of limitations was applicable, and such claims were thus timely filed. Unfortunately for the administratrix, the court ultimately dismissed these claims anyway on the basis that she lacked the standing to bring suit on these claims ruling that claims based on violations of Kentucky Revised Statutes § 216.515(18), (20), and (22) must be brought during the lifetime of the nursing home resident (who died prior to the administratrix’s suit).
For Help with Your Loved One’s Nursing Home Injury or Wrongful Death Claim
Even when a nursing home’s mistreatment of a patient results in death, those responsible cannot be held liable in a court of law unless a claim is filed by the statute-imposed deadline. Not stepping forward may also result in others suffering needlessly. The compassionate yet assertive Kentucky nursing home negligence attorneys at English, Lucas, Priest & Owsley can help you investigate any concerns you may have regarding negligence or wrongful conduct in a nursing home or long-term care facility. Contact English, Lucas, Priest and Owsley at (270) 781-6500 for a free consultation.
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