Filing Deadlines in Washington, D.C. Personal Injury Cases

Knowing the applicable filing deadlines is essential in a Washington, D.C. personal injury lawsuit. Failure to abide by the deadlines will often result in a dismissal of one’s case, and in some circumstances, the case cannot be refiled. The statute of limitations refers to the deadline for filing certain types of claims after a cause of action accrues. In general, there is a three-year statute of limitations for Washington, D.C. personal injury cases and a two-year statute of limitations for wrongful death cases. The deadline may be able to be tolled, or extended, in some circumstances.

What Is a Statute of Repose?

A statute of repose is similar to the statute of limitations but is more strictly construed. It puts a fixed deadline on filing for certain claims. Some states have statutes of repose for personal injury claims—Washington, D.C. does not have a general statute of repose for such claims, though it does have statutes of repose for certain claims. For example, the District of Columbia has a statute of repose of ten years for damages to real property based on the defective or unsafe condition of an improvement to real property.

A recent case demonstrates how statutes of repose and statutes of limitations can be applied and why they must be adhered to. In 2003, the plaintiff underwent surgery during which a TVT transvaginal mesh sling device was implanted. She later began experiencing pain, urinary issues, and scarring. Her doctor told her that the mesh had eroded and had a procedure to remove the implant in 2006. That same year, she had a similar mesh sling implanted, which was later eroded and removed in 2011. She claimed that she learned of the injury in July 2012 after a physician said that the mesh was the likely cause of her injuries.

In 2013, she filed a products liability claim against the manufacturer. The state had a six-year statute of repose applicable to her personal injury claim, which begins after the date of injury that gave rise to the suit. The defendant manufacturer claimed that the case was barred by the statute of repose. In response, the plaintiff argued that she was not injured by the mesh devise until 2012 when she was informed that the device was the cause of her medical problems, or at least was not injured until after her second surgery in 2011.

The court agreed that the claims were barred. The court explained that the 2011 surgery appeared to be the same as the 2006 surgery and were both caused by an ineffective TVT mesh device. In addition, it did not matter that she did not discover the cause of the injury until 2012, as the statute of repose could not be extended. Thus, the claims were time-barred by the state’s statute of repose and were dismissed.

Injury Attorneys Serving Washington, D.C. Residents

There are many products on the market these days that are dangerous or harmful. The Washington, D.C. product liability lawyers at Lebowitz & Mzhen provide aggressive representation to Washington, D.C. residents who have been hurt because of a defective product. They have years of experience in personal injury lawsuits, as well as the necessary skills and knowledge in order to effectively and correctly handle your case. For a free consultation, call (800) 654-1949 or contact them online via their online form today.

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