Plaintiffs’ Claim to Recover Medical Expenses Dismissed Because It Was Filed After the Applicable Statute of Limitations

After any Washington, D.C. slip-and-fall accident, the injured party is entitled to pursue a claim for compensation against the party they believe to be responsible for their injuries. These Washington, D.C. premises liability claims must be brought within the timeframe set forth in D.C. Code § 12-301(8), which is three years from the date of the injury. If an accident victim fails to file their complaint on time, the court will dismiss the claim without reviewing it on the merits. This almost always results in the victim being completely prevented from recovering compensation for their injuries.

While it may seem simple to determine what the applicable statute of limitations is, that is not always the case. In some situations, a plaintiff believes that their claims are subject to a longer statute of limitations, only to find out that a shorter time period applies. This was the case in a recent Georgia appellate court opinion.

The Facts of the Case

The plaintiffs were the parents of a young boy who was injured while the family was living in a rental property owned by the defendant. One day, the plaintiffs’ son leaned up against a brick wall and the wall collapsed, resulting in the boy sustaining serious injuries. He was hospitalized as a result and incurred significant medical expenses.

The plaintiffs initially filed a premises liability lawsuit against the defendant, but that case was voluntarily withdrawn once their son turned 18. At that point, the son filed a case against the defendant on his own behalf. That case resulted in the plaintiffs’ son obtaining $50,000 from the defendant for the injuries he sustained. The son’s award did not contain any amount of reimbursement for his medical expenses because his parents paid the bills, and they were no longer a party to the lawsuit.

Thus, the plaintiffs were still owed compensation for their son’s medical expenses. Just about four years after the incident, they filed a lawsuit against the defendant, seeking compensation for their son’s medical expenses.

The defendant claimed that the plaintiffs’ lawsuit was filed after the applicable two-year statute of limitations for personal injury cases, and they asked the court to dismiss the case. The plaintiffs argued that they had a personal property interest in their son’s medical expenses, and thus the four-year statute of limitations for personal property cases should apply.

The court resolved the case in favor of the defendant. The court explained that while parents do normally have a personal property interest in the medical expenses of their children, that fact will not act to transform what is at its heart a personal injury claim into a personal property claim. In other words, since the plaintiffs’ case for compensation stemmed from a personal injury lawsuit, the statute for personal injury cases applied.

Have You Been Injured in a Washington, D.C. Accident?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured while on the property of a person, business, or even government entity, you may be entitled to monetary compensation to help you cover the costs you have incurred. In addition, you may be able to obtain compensation for any pain and suffering that you endured as a result of the accident. The skilled Washington, D.C. personal injury lawyers at the law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers have decades of experience assisting those who have been injured due to the negligence of others. We aggressively represent our clients in a wide range of Washington, D.C. premises liability, medical malpractice, and wrongful death cases. Call 410-654-3600 to schedule a free consultation with an attorney today.

More Blog Posts:

Court Upholds Slip-and-Fall Plaintiff’s Verdict Against Hospital, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, September 4, 2017

Plaintiff’s Improper Service of Defendant Results in Dismissal of Wrongful Death Case, Washington DC Injury Lawyer Blog, September 19, 2017

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