Of course, many individuals in a nursing home are long-term residents and this statutory amendment may place some in an impossible situation. We all know how difficult it can be to find placement in a quality nursing home for a family member. Because of that, a nursing home resident may now have to commence a lawsuit against a nursing home while still a resident at that very facility.
Fortunately, a common-sense solution already exists to cure this dilemma. In Ohio, medical negligence cases are generally subject to a one-year statute of limitations. However, Ohio courts have recognized the statute of limitations does not even begin to run until “the physician-patient relationship for that condition terminates.” Frysinger v. Leech, 32 Ohio St. 3d 38 (1987). The purpose of this rule is clear. It gives the offending doctor a chance to fix his or her mistake, recognizing how difficult it can be for a patient to find one doctor to fix another’s problem.
The West Virginia Legislature should adopt the same rule in nursing home cases. W. Va. Code §55-7B-4 should be amended to extend the statute of limitations while a nursing home resident remains in the facility.
- Despite these statutory provisions, the analysis of the statute of limitations in a particular case depends entirely on its own facts. If you believe you may have a case, please contact a lawyer immediately for advice.