The Dangers of Filing a Washington, D.C. Medical Malpractice Suit Too Late

When someone is injured in a Washington, D.C. accident, the District’s laws allow them to file a personal injury suit against whoever caused their injury. This is an important process that allows for many Washington, D.C. accident victims to recover financially for their injuries and losses and move on from an accident. However, it is critical that residents remember that they must bring a claim within a specified period. If they miss filing within this time, which is set by statute and called the statute of limitations, then they will have their suit barred permanently. This can be a harsh wakeup call for accident victims. Thus, anyone who believes they may have been the victim of medical malpractice should contact an attorney sooner rather than later to discuss their case.

For an example of how this works in an actual case, take a recent state supreme medical malpractice opinion. According to the court’s opinion, the plaintiff suffered from periodontal disease, and received allegedly negligent treatment from October 2011 through December 2012. The plaintiff claimed that his periodontist was negligent in treating him as she failed to adequately diagnose and treat his ailments, causing him extreme pain. Additionally, the plaintiff claimed that the periodontist then failed to give him complete medical records regarding his treatment. The plaintiff filed suit in October of 2015, and the periodontist filed a motion for summary judgment to have the lawsuit dropped based on the two-year statute of limitations.

In most medical malpractice cases, the statute of limitations begins to run not when the injury actually occurs, but when the victim actually finds out about it and discovers that there may be a claim. For example, if a doctor botches a surgery and causes long-term complications, the patient may be fine for several months before they suffer adverse effects and realize what has happened. That is when the statute of limitations might begin to run.

The defendant in this case argued that the two years began to run in January of 2013, when the plaintiff knew all the elements of his claim. However, the plaintiff argued that he did not know about it until late in 2013, when he finally got complete copies of his medical records. Looking at the facts of the case and when the plaintiff got various information, the court found that the period started no later than July of 2013, making the plaintiff’s claim too late. The court reasoned that, by this point, the plaintiff had not been making appointments with his periodontist and the second doctor he visited was surprised that his infection was not treated earlier and that there were no recent x-rays. This put the plaintiff on notice that there was a potential claim, and thus he failed to file within the statute of limitations.

Have You Been Injured in a Washington, D.C. Medical Malpractice Case?

If you or someone close to you has recently been injured in Washington, D.C. due to suspected medical malpractice, you may be wondering what steps you must take to hold the medical professional responsible. Lebowitz & Mzhen, Personal Injury Lawyers, can help you through the entire process. We skillfully handle all types of Washington, D.C. medical malpractice claims. Contact our dedicated attorneys today to discuss your case and your options risk-free: 800-654-1949.

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