The answer depends on where the incident took place. The time to bring a lawsuit against the a nursing home is governed by the statute of limitations where the incident occurred. Most states have specific statute of limitations for personal injury and nursing home cases. The statute of limitations can vary tremendously by jurisdiction. Some states have statute of limitations as short as one year from the date of the injury and other states permit a cause of action to be brought up to eight years from the date of the injury. Statute of limitations are strictly interpreted. If you fail to bring a lawsuit within the statute of limitations you will be forever barred from recovery.
This underlies the importance of contacting an experienced nursing home attorney shortly after an incident occurs. Further, in many situations it is important to file a lawsuit far earlier than the statute of limitations allow in order to determine all of potentially responsible parties.