Medical Malpractice FAQs
Washington, D.C. medical malpractice attorney answers frequently asked questions
Under Washington, D.C. law, you typically have three years to bring a medical malpractice action—but these cases are so complex that you need to start building your case immediately. An experienced medical malpractice attorney is your best source for information, but the following frequently asked questions provide basic information to get you started:
Contact a unique medical malpractice law firm in Washington, D.C.
Having a lawyer who is also a physician can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case. For a free initial consultation with the Law Offices of Michael M. Wilson, M.D., J.D., call him at 202-684-2889 or contact him online. His office is located in the Washington, D.C. area and he serves in the surrounding regions.
Do I need to take my malpractice case to court?
This is a decision you and an experienced local Maryland or Washington, D.C. medical malpractice attorney must decide together as early as your first meeting, and it depends on many factors, including the severity of your injuries. Medical practitioners typically carry insurance to pay compensation when a patient has been harmed due to substandard medical care—and filing an insurance claim is appropriate in many cases. But when injuries are severe and require long-term expenses—or when they have caused permanent scarring or disability—your attorney may recommend negotiating an out-of-court settlement or having a jury decide the outcome of your claim.
Is there a limit on the amount of the award I can receive for my claim?
While Washington, D.C. law does not place a limit on the damages you can recover in a medical malpractice action, Maryland law established a $650,000 limit on non-economic damages such as pain and suffering in 2008—and imposed an automatic $15,000 raise to the cap every three years.
Is my claim automatically reduced by the amount of compensation I receive from other sources?
Even if you are able to secure some compensation from other sources—such as your own insurance coverage—liable parties cannot use evidence of the payments to reduce the compensation they are required to pay. Washington, D.C. operates under a collateral source rule that specifically prevents defendants from this practice. Experienced medical malpractice attorneys are watchful for any invalid reductions in the value of your claim.
Can I file a claim even if I was partially responsible for my own injury?
Under Washington, D.C. contributory negligence law, if your own negligence contributed to your injury, you are barred from recovering damages in a medical malpractice claim. It is important to discuss this issue during your initial consultation with experienced malpractice lawyers in Washington, D.C. They can tell you if you have a valid case—or if any other alternative methods are available to help you recover compensation for your injuries.
How are damages paid if more than one party is responsible for my injuries?
Washington, D.C. operates under a joint and several liability rule for economic damages. This means every party who contributed to your injury is responsible for all quantifiable costs—such as medical expenses, therapy, lost income, and many other costs associated with your injury. Washington, D.C. also operates on a modified form of joint and several liability that requires non-economic damages—such as pain and suffering—to be apportioned to each liable party based on degree of negligence.