Doctor Negligence Lawyer in Washington, D.C.
Medical professionals are expected to use their experience and training to treat patients and provide the best possible care. But when a doctor is negligent and someone is injured, it may be possible to file a medical malpractice claim.
A successful medical malpractice award provides compensation to victims or family members for medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and other losses. However, winning a doctor’s negligence claim can be particularly challenging. Physicians and facilities are protected by powerful insurers who will work hard to defend against any allegations of malpractice. An experienced medical malpractice attorney can help you fight for the justice you’re owed.
If you suspect that you’ve been the victim of medical malpractice in Washington, D.C., it’s important to act quickly. The law generally gives victims three years from the date of the malpractice — or from the date in which the malpractice should have reasonably been discovered — in order to file a claim. However, the district also requires that victims give their healthcare provider 90 days’ notice of their intent to sue. The unfortunate consequence of this rule is that it may give some victims a very short timeline to file a claim if their statute of limitations is close to expiring.
Don’t let the clock run down. Contact The Law Offices of Michael M. Wilson, M.D., J.D. and Associates right away. Our experienced doctors’ negligence lawyers can evaluate your case and discuss your legal options in a free and confidential consultation.
Call or contact our skilled legal team today to set up your free case review.
What Are the Consequences of a Doctor’s Negligence?
Physicians are duty-bound to provide competent, sound medical treatment to their patients. When they are negligent and fail to act according to those obligations, the consequences can result in injuries, permanent disabilities, and sadly, death.
Some of the most common causes of medical malpractice in Washington, D.C. include:
- Failure to diagnose an illness, such as cancer
- Surgical mistakes
- Prescription errors
- Birth injuries
- Anesthesia errors
- Emergency room errors
How Do You Prove That Your Doctor Was Negligent?
Not every injury or illness that a person suffers after receiving medical care is considered medical malpractice. It’s not enough to be unhappy with an outcome. To prove a medical malpractice claim, you must show:
- The doctor had a responsibility to care for your medical needs.
- The physician did not take the steps and precautions in your medical treatment that another reasonable medical professional would take in a similar situation.
- You suffered an injury because of the physician’s negligence.
- This injury caused you to incur significant losses, such as pain and suffering, medical expenses, and lost wages.
If you believe that your medical treatment — or lack of treatment — could constitute malpractice, consult a trusted doctors’ negligence lawyer immediately.
What is D.C.’s Contributory Negligence Doctrine?
Washington, D.C. is one of just a handful of places in the U.S. that determines fault using a contributory negligence system. Under this rule, a person cannot collect compensation in a medical malpractice claim if he or she is found to be even one percent responsible for their injuries.
This means that if your physician’s legal team can prove that you did anything that could have slightly contributed to your injury — such as forgetting to take a dose of medication — then they might be able to successfully argue that you were partly to blame and not entitled to compensation.
What Are the Medical Malpractice Intent to File Requirements in D.C.?
An injured patient typically must notify the physician or healthcare facility that they intend to sue at least 90 days before they file a medical malpractice lawsuit. This notification must include details about the basis of their proposed lawsuit, such as the nature and severity of the injuries that the healthcare provider or facility allegedly caused.
There are certain exceptions to this timeline. For example, if the injured patient makes a “good faith” effort to give the defendant a 90-day notice, but is not able to meet this deadline, then the court might forgive this failure to comply.
However, these exceptions are only available under limited circumstances. To maximize your opportunity for success, it is vital to work with an experienced attorney who is well-versed in Washington D.C.’s medical malpractice laws.
Is There a Time Limit on Medical Malpractice or Doctors’ Negligence Claims in D.C.?
Victims of a doctor’s negligence usually have three years from the date of their injury or the date they discovered their injury to file a medical malpractice lawsuit. There are some exceptions to this rule, such as when the injured person is a minor or is in prison.
Additionally, the district’s “90-Day Rule” on intent to file requirements can significantly complicate how the statute of limitations may apply in your case. If almost three years have passed since the alleged injury occurred, then you might not be able to file a suit — even though your case falls within the permitted statute of limitations.
In order to comply with both the district’s statute of limitations and the “90-Day Rule,” victims may need to get an extension from the court before they can file a lawsuit. Having an efficient doctors’ negligence lawyer by your side throughout this time-sensitive process can help ensure that you don’t miss a deadline that bars your right to compensation.
Are There Caps on Medical Malpractice Awards in D.C.?
Some states limit, or “cap,” how much money a person can be awarded in non-economic damages (e.g., pain and suffering) in a medical malpractice claim. Not so in D.C. There is not currently have a limit on the amount of compensation that an injured victim can receive in a medical malpractice verdict or settlement.
Not All Cases Amount to Medical Malpractice or Doctors’ Negligence
Not every injury or illness is considered grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit. Examples of situations that are not typically classified as doctors’ negligence include:
- When you are suffering side effects from a treatment, but your physician had warned you about these possible side effects and you knowingly agreed to the treatment anyway
- When your doctor recommended a medical treatment for your condition, but your body doesn’t respond the way you hoped it would
Get Started on Your Legal Claim Today
If you are unsure if the treatment you received qualifies as medical malpractice, contact the trusted the Washington D.C. doctors’ negligence attorneys at The Law Offices of Michael M. Wilson, M.D., J.D. and Associates right away.
It’s easy to get started. Just call or fill out our contact form online to schedule a free case evaluation with a Washington, D.C. medical malpractice lawyer today.