Trusted Lawyers Serving Victims of D.C. Medical Malpractice
Due to the immense trust we are forced to place in healthcare professionals, medical malpractice is perhaps the most disturbing form of personal injury claim. Most people don’t realize that medical malpractice is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. Although no one can undo the physical harm done to you, Washington DC medical malpractice law does offer a financial remedy.
Sometimes the most difficult aspect of a medical malpractice claim is determining whether the harm done to you was actually caused by medical malpractice. For your reference, some of the most common forms of medical malpractice are listed below.
- Failure to diagnose a dangerous condition
- Misreading or misinterpreting lab results
- Unnecessary surgery
- Failure to secure informed consent
- Medication errors
- Anesthesia errors
- Surgical errors
- Birth injuries
- Wrong site surgery
Your Claim Will Probably be Settled Out of Court
Most medical malpractice claims are settled privately with a malpractice insurance company. That doesn’t mean you don’t need to prepare for trial, however. The only leverage you have when negotiating with the insurance company is your ability to win a lawsuit if they refuse to offer adequate compensation. The problem is that preparing for trial requires considerable skill.
World-Class Professionals at Your Service
At Koonz, McKenney, Johnson, DePaolis & Lightfoot, L.L.P., we have been practicing personal injury law for the past 35 years. In that time, our clients have taken home over $1,000,000,000 in verdicts and settlements, including quite a few multi-million dollar recoveries. Our personal injury attorneys understand the ins and outs of the D.C. legal system, and we won’t let anyone take advantage of you.
Some of Our Other Practice Areas
Car Accidents: Although statistically, D.C. roads are the safest in the nation, that fact matters little if you are injured in a car accident. Insurance company exploitation of D.C.’s harsh contributory negligence rules means that poorly represented auto accident victims often fail to secure any compensation at all.
Pedestrian Accidents: Thousands of pedestrians are injured and killed every year on the nation’s roads. D.C.sees more than its proportionate share of pedestrian accidents because of its high urban density. Fortunately, D.C. law was recently changed in a manner that
makes it easier for pedestrians to win personal injury claims.
Worker’s Compensation: The D.C. worker’s compensation system is designed to compensate victims of workplace injuries. Worker’s compensation claims work quite differently than other personal injury claims, and many potential pitfalls await victims who are unaware of the idiosyncrasies of the system. If you live in D.C. but work in Virginia, for example, Virginia worker’s compensation rules apply (and we have a Virginia office).
Construction Accidents: Construction work is some of the most dangerous work available, and catastrophic accidents are not at all uncommon. Although the worker’s compensation system applies to many construction accident claims, under some circumstances a construction accident claim is governed by ordinary personal injury law.
Product Liability: If you were injured by a dangerous product such as a household appliance, a defective auto part or even a prescription drug, it is possible to win a claim against the manufacturer or distributor without even proving negligence. Some product liability claims, however, are based on complex technical issues that require expert assistance.
Premises Liability: Those who own or rent real estate are charged with ensuring that their premises are reasonably safe for any guests they invite to the property. Failure to do so can result in civil liability if a guest is injured. Many premises liability claims arise in commercial establishments such as restaurants and grocery stores.
Federal Tort Claims Act: The legal rules are different when you file a personal injury claim against the federal government, because any judgment paid out by the government ultimately comes from taxpayers’ pockets. The government cannot be sued without its permission, and the Federal Tort Claims Act authorizes lawsuits against the government for certain types of personal injury claims.
Nursing Home Neglect: Nursing home neglect generally arises from understaffing – and unfortunately, about half of the nation’s nursing homes are understaffed. The tricky part of a nursing home abuse claim is often tracing your loved one’s condition to neglect on the part of nursing home staff. A thorough understanding of nursing home regulations can assist you in formulating a viable claim.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What type of civil damages are available to me?
The District of Columbia permits two types of damages (sometimes three):
- Economic damages: Any losses easily countable in dollars, such as medical expenses and lost earning
- Non-economic damages: Psychological damages such as pain and suffering.
- Punitive damages (sometimes): Awarded in addition to economic and non-economic damages if the defendant’s conduct was outrageous or based on an evil motive (operating on a patient while intoxicated, for example)
Are there any limits on how much money I can recover?
D.C. is one of the few jurisdiction that places almost no limits on medical malpractice damages.The only limit applies to punitive damages (not awarded in most cases anyway) which must not be “grossly excessive.”
How likely is it that my claim will be settled out of court?
Very likely. According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice, well over 90 percent of medical malpractice claims never make it to trial. Health care providers are usually averse to the publicity that a trial would provide because their reputations are at stake.
What is contributory negligence?
Contributory negligence refers to the victim’s negligence (failing to follow the doctor’s instructions, for example, or concealing your medical history). If you are found even one percent at fault, you will be completely barred from recovery. This harsh rule only applies in D.C. and a few other states. Even D.C. has repealed it for certain types of traffic accidents.
What is a Notice of Intent?
A Notice of Intent is a notice that D.C. medical malpractice law requires you to send to the defendant within 90 days of filing a medical malpractice lawsuit against him. The notice must provide:
- The legal basis for your claim
- The type of loss you suffered
- The extent of your loss
- Information about your injury
You cannot commence a medical malpractice lawsuit without first sending this notice and waiting 90 days.
Who can I sue?
You can sue any healthcare provider, including:
- Medical technicians
- Obstetricians and midwives
You cannot sue all of these health care providers under any circumstances. If, for example, your doctor committed medical malpractice in XYZ Hospital, you probably could not win a claim against XYZ Hospital unless you could prove that the hospital itself (not just the doctor) was negligent.
What is the statute of limitations deadline?
Generally, you have three years after the date of discovery of the malpractice, or, if you were a minor at the time the malpractice occurred, until your 21st birthday. Generally, however, the older the claim is, the more difficult it is to win.
What is a “Functional Capacity Evaluation”?
A Functional Capacity Evaluation, or FCE, is a medical evaluation used to determine how well you can perform the tasks necessary for your employment. You might use an FCE evaluation as the basis for claiming damages for years of lost future earnings.
Our Fees are Zero Unless We Win
Feel free to contact us even if you don’t have any money. Since our fees are calculated as a percentage of your personal injury compensation, you won’t owe us anything until we win your case and your money arrives. If we don’t win, we will waive all of your legal fees, leaving you owing us precisely $0.00. It is the quality of your claim that matters to us, not the state of your finances.
The Value of Your Medical Malpractice Claim Will Drop If You Don’t Act Quickly – Contact Knowledgeable Washington D.C. Lawyers
Medical malpractice claims tend to weaken over time as evidence deteriorates. Moreover, if you delay long enough, sooner or later the statute of limitations deadline will arrive and drop the value of your claim to zero. If you suspect that you are a victim of medical malpractice in Washington, D.C., you need to act quickly. Call our DC injury lawyers today at (202) 794-5416, or simply contact us online for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.