The Supreme Court of Indiana has ruled that the statute of limitations may be tolled due to fraudulent concealment in a wrongful death case. In Alldredge v. Good Samaritan Home, Inc., a woman who was apparently prone to falls resided at an Evansville skilled nursing facility. In November 2006, the woman purportedly suffered a fall-related head injury at the facility and died as a result. Three years later, a former nursing home employee allegedly told the deceased woman’s family that she fell as a result of an attack by another facility resident.
In 2011, the woman’s estate filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the skilled nursing facility. In its complaint, the estate accused the nursing home of causing the woman’s death and fraudulently concealing the facility’s own negligence. The nursing home filed a motion to dismiss the estate’s lawsuit, arguing it was filed after the statute of limitations had run. Normally, a plaintiff who fails to file a lawsuit with the appropriate court prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations is permanently barred from recovery. The nursing facility also argued that a fraudulent concealment claim cannot toll, or extend, the statute of limitations in an Indiana wrongful death case.