Formerly, the law in West Virginia stated that if someone is abused in a nursing home, the victim has two years to file a lawsuit. In addition to the two-year time limit, a nursing home abuse victim has the choice to file his or her lawsuit in the county where they reside or work. However, the new law in West Virginia, effective July 1 reduces the time to file a lawsuit to just one year and requires plaintiffs to file in the county where the nursing home is located.
Some feel the law could put pressure on victims to come forward more quickly, given that these can be very sensitive cases. With all of the family dynamics involved, there’s frequently fear involved. This is because many individuals don't want to speak up for fear of reprisal, while their loved ones are still in the facility.
Others contend that the law doesn’t put pressure on victims, but instead serves as encouragement, intensifying the sense of urgency related to any type of elder abuse.
Supporters of the law say it ultimately brings awareness to the issues, noting that anything shedding a light on a nationwide epidemic is a good thing.
Nursing home abuse includes things such as improper medication management, lack of proper care, isolation, malnutrition, dehydration and preventable falls.
These types of incidents frequently occur in nursing homes around West Virginia. However, the new law will protect nursing homes from the mistakes that they make. Is that perhaps the point; as states around the country find it harder and harder to make healthcare dollars stretch why not pass laws that make your state a less desirable place for long term care?
Reference: The (WV) News Center (June 27, 2017) “W. Va. nursing home abuse law set to go into effect July 1”