If an individual is injured in the District of Columbia and the local government may be at fault, a plaintiff will likely have to deal with the issue of governmental immunity. Under Washington, D.C. law, the municipal government may be immune from a civil lawsuit depending on the nature of the act. In Washington, D.C., the local government and its employees and agents are immune from suit depending on whether the act is discretionary or ministerial. The government is immune based upon its discretionary actions, but not immune from suit based upon its ministerial actions. Generally, a discretionary act is one that involved deliberation, decision, and judgment. A ministerial act is generally confined to following orders or performing a duty in which the employee has little choice. Whether an action is discretionary or ministerial often depends on the specific facts and circumstances of the case.
Local government employees also generally are protected under governmental immunity for their actions. They generally are protected as long as they are acting within their official capacity and within the scope of their employment and if they do not act with gross negligence. An individual may also act as an agent of a government entity, depending on the facts of the case.
Court Dismisses Medical Malpractice Suit Against University Based on Immunity
In a recent case before one state appeals court, that court considered whether a university was entitled to immunity after a doctor was sued at an affiliated hospital. In that case, the patient sought treatment from the doctor at his office at the hospital. The university provided healthcare services at that teaching hospital. The doctor was an employee of the university and made an agreement to provide care to patients at the hospital. The patient claimed that the doctor failed to prescribe anti-coagulants to the patient, which resulted in disabilities. The patient claimed that the hospital and the university were liable for the doctor’s actions as an agent of the university.
The university claimed it was entitled to immunity under that state’s law. Under that state’s law, the university was immune from suit because the doctor treated the patient while he was acting as the hospital’s agent. The court held that the doctor was an agent of the hospital and was entitled to immunity because he was an employee of the university that had agreed to provide services to the hospital pursuant to an agreement. Thus, the university was immune from suit.
Contact a Washington, D.C. Personal Injury Lawyer for Immediate Assistance
It is critical for accident victims to act quickly after being injured in an incident of medical malpractice, particularly when filing a claim against the government or its agents. The personal injury attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC can guide clients through each step of the legal process, from the initial investigation and settlement negotiations up through a jury trial. We have the tenacity and resources to pursue all of the parties that were responsible for causing a client’s harm or loss. To set up a free consultation, call Lebowitz & Mzhen toll-free at (800) 654-1949 or contact them online.