How long after my loved one is injured or dies in a nursing home can I sue in Kentucky?

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Answered by: Gregory J. Bubalo

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The law of the Commonwealth of Kentucky imposes time limits on your right to bring an action in court for civil damages.  If those time limits expire before you file, your right to bring a case in Court will be barred forever. Personal injury and wrongful death cases related to nursing homes in Kentucky have statutes of limitations based on a one-year period.  

The statute of limitations for cases based on personal injury caused by a nursing home is one-year from the date you or your loved one knew or should have known of being wrongly injured.  For wrongful death, the time limit is one-year from the date an estate is opened in probate court, but no more than two-years from the date of death if the estate is not opened within a year of death. 

These time limits are imposed by the Kentucky General Assembly through its enactment of "statutes of limitations." These statutes establish different time limits applicable to many different types of wrongful injuries. Statutes of limitations impose time limits for car wrecks, medical malpractice, defamation and slander and other types of wrongful injuries. 

Even if you only slightly suspect abuse or wrongful death, you should seek help from an experienced attorney as soon as possible. An experienced attorney will know how to promptly investigate and file a nursing home lawsuit before it is too late. These cases are complex and involve multiple federal and state regulations. After a tragic event, you should not try to face this challenge alone.  

Proving Personal Injuries from Abuse or Neglect

To succeed in a nursing home abuse case, generally you must prove that the nursing home caused you or your loved one bodily injury through its negligence

To prove negligence, you must prove that the nursing home failed to render to you or your loved one the necessary care and medical treatment expected from an ordinarily prudent nursing home in the same or similar situation. Then, you must prove that this failure to render ordinary care caused bodily injury to you or your loved one. 

Nursing homes frequently argue that a preexisting medical condition (such as old age) was the true cause of your, or your loved one’s injury, regardless of their negligence. However, an experienced lawyer should be able to help you prove your case where neglect, or outright abuse, made the patient's medical condition much worse or even caused new diseases and injuries that should not have been suffered.

Wrongful Death in a Nursing Home – What to Know

As a friend or family member of the deceased, you should try to take immediate legal action regarding his or her death. However, there are many laws you should know about. A few are mentioned below; however, an experienced wrongful death lawyer in Kentucky can help you know all your need to know.

Generally, in the case of personal injury, the one who directly suffered the injury files the lawsuit. But when it comes to wrongful death in Kentucky, the injured person is unable to speak for himself; so, a personal representative of the decedent’s estate has the authority to file the case and to speak on behalf of the deceased. According to Kentucky Revised Statute, §411.130(1), “[w]henever the death of a person results from an injury inflicted by the negligence or wrongful act of another, damages may be recovered for the death from the person who caused it, or whose agent or servant caused it.” 

If the personal representative recovers money for the wrong done to the deceased, KRS §411.130 mandates how to divide the money among the family. For instance, if there are no children of the deceased, then the money will go to the spouse (and vice versa). If there is neither a surviving spouse nor a child, then the payment will go to the parents or the estate itself. Each family situation may be different, requiring a different distribution.

Punitive damages may also be recovered for gross negligence in Kentucky.


Disclaimer: The answer is intended to be for informational purposes only. It should not be relied on as legal advice, nor construed as a form of attorney-client relationship.

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