People rely on their healthcare providers to help them when they are sick or injured. The nurse or doctor usually has their patient's best interests at heart. However, mistakes happen every day, and sometimes those mistakes can be life-changing. If negligence occurred at a hospital in Washington, DC and you or a family member suffered illness or injury, you may have a case not only against the person who caused the injury but the healthcare facility that employs them. Our hospital negligence lawyers aim to help those who have suffered from a hospital's carelessness.
Hospital negligence occurs when a hospital or an employee of the healthcare facility makes a mistake due to negligence. Healthcare providers have a duty of care to their patients, and failure to meet the standard of care can lead to the patient suffering from an injury.
If the hospital keeps providing staff privileges to the negligent employee, the facility may be held responsible for the healthcare professional’s negligent actions. Patients may have a case if the hospital knew or should have known a doctor became unsuitable or dangerous for the job yet failed to act.
However, it can be difficult to prove hospital negligence, especially on your own. These types of cases require a medical expert to go over the details of your medical records to discover where the negligence occurred and how it affected you in the long term.
Regan Zambri Long’s medical malpractice attorneys have been helping medical malpractice victims through the DC Metro area for decades. We will hold the medical professionals responsible for your injuries and show how the hospital’s negligence contributed to the medical error. Contact us today to speak with one of our DC medical malpractice lawyers.
Hospital negligence occurs more frequently than it should. Medical errors are the third-leading cause of death in the United States. Every year, victims suffer millions of dollars in economic losses. All states and the District of Columbia have medical malpractice laws to protect the rights of patients who place their trust in hospitals and other facilities.
Some instances where a healthcare facility can be held responsible include:
>Misdiagnosis is the most common form of medical malpractice, making up 33% of cases. Misdiagnosis occurs when employees do not have the time, resources, or experience needed to diagnose a patient properly. This can result in a patient receiving a delayed diagnosis or having to deal with expensive, evasive treatments that were unnecessary.
Other types of medical malpractice that could result in hospital negligence include:
One example of hospital negligence is administering the incorrect dosage of anesthesia before surgery. The wrong amount could lead to liver damage in the patient. In many cases, proving negligence can be tricky since there are plenty of gray areas. An experienced anesthesia error lawyer will distinguish between a true accident and a preventable error.
Other anesthesia mistakes include delaying the administration to patients or providing too little, causing the patient to suffer. The failure to provide proper preoperative instructions or monitor vital signs during surgery may count as negligence.
Childbirth tends to be a difficult time for everyone involved. Sometimes, the hospital can make a mistake, leading to an injury.
For instance, an umbilical cord prolapse can occur. The issue can be life-threatening to the child unless the doctor performs a C-section. Negligence happens if the doctor fails to realize what has happened and delays the procedure. Delaying a C-section may result in the baby suffering from brain damage. A birth injury lawyer can argue the healthcare professional failed to provide adequate care.
The mother might also suffer from childbirth injuries due to medical malpractice. Sometimes, the patient has high blood pressure before delivery. High blood pressure is a sign of preeclampsia, which can lead to seizures or stroke during childbirth. If a hospital employee fails to note the issue, they can be liable for any injuries from the seizure.
Another example of hospital negligence is a surgical error. Errors may happen due to several reasons, such as an improper work process or incompetence. Even poor communication can lead to the surgeon making a mistake.
If a patient suffers an injured nerve from surgery or receives an incision in the wrong location, they can have a malpractice case. Another instance of surgical error is the surgeon leaving a piece of equipment in the patient. In some cases, the doctor will operate on the wrong body part or even the incorrect person.
Often, victims can easily establish how the treatment led to substandard care. Various types of errors can occur, so you should consult a surgical error lawyer if you believe you suffered an injury from one.
Malpractice often happens from an incorrect diagnosis. One of the causes of misdiagnosis is the failure to provide the correct test results. Patients need to know the state of their condition in a timely manner. Whether it is from errors in recording or reading the results, mistakes can lead to dire consequences.
You might not get any treatment when you need one, or you could get the wrong kind. The healthcare provider may provide the incorrect diagnosis or medication. The real issue may get ignored or made worse as a result of the lab test error. Patients who suffer damages could be entitled to compensation.
When you file a lawsuit for hospital negligence, you will need to fulfill specific requirements to prove malpractice occurred. Also known as the four elements of healthcare negligence, you must show:
Here is an example of how malpractice can be proved in a hospital negligence case:
You went to your local hospital for appendicitis. The inexperienced surgeon looks at the wrong chart and instead of removing your appendix, they remove one of your kidneys.
When you wake up from the surgery, you learn what happened. In the meantime, your inflamed appendix ruptures, causing you to have emergency surgery. You spend the next few weeks in the hospital to recover.
When the hospital learns of the incident, instead of firing the surgeon or placing them on leave, it sends you a letter apologizing for the mistake. There is no mention of paying the medical bills associated with the surgeries.
Because the surgeon was negligent, it caused an accident that resulted in an injury to the patient. And since the hospital failed to act and had hired an incompetent medical professional, it can be held responsible for the accident.
The timeline of a healthcare negligence lawsuit can vary from case to case. A claim goes through different stages, so you might find yourself waiting months to over a year for a resolution. The complexity of the case can contribute to the duration as well.
The first step of a hospital malpractice lawsuit is to speak with DC medical malpractice attorney. They will talk with the patient about the initial diagnosis or treatment leading up to the alleged hospital negligence. Then, the medical malpractice lawyer will collect records related to the case. Any condition or care in the person’s medical history could impact the case. The attorney may request a report of those as well.
This stage can take months to complete. The lawyer will go over everything to determine if the client has a valid case.
Our DC medical malpractice lawyers often search for a medical expert witness to show negligence. The expert typically works in the same field as the defendant. The qualified professional needs to review all of the patient’s relevant medical records to learn where the negligence occurred and how the patient’s health was affected.
This step usually occurs before a lawsuit gets filed. The expert may provide a statement on how the negligent medical professional failed their duty of care.
In several states, the plaintiff’s lawyer needs to submit either the Offer of Proof or the Certificate of Merit. In Washington, DC, the law does not have such a requirement. Instead, the plaintiff has to notify the defendant 90 days before filing a lawsuit.
The District of Columbia requires both parties to attend non-binding mediation early on before the discovery.
Some medical malpractice cases do settle before a lawyer files a lawsuit. More often than not, the other party’s insurance company does not negotiate compensation until after you establish one. An attorney produces a document called the Complaint to start the lawsuit.
The case goes through a couple of pre-trial procedures before the trial takes place. In general, it can take over a year to three years for the claim to go to the courtroom.
Once litigation starts, both parties will go through the discovery phase. During this step, they will investigate one another’s claims and defenses. The attorneys may request documents and send interrogatories to each other.
Depositions often occur during the discovery. In a deposition, lawyers ask questions to the plaintiff, defendant, and any witnesses. The process may last over a year, depending on the court’s deadlines. One side might not be happy with the other’s responses, and the attorney may file a motion for further responses to a judge. The action can happen multiple times.
The negotiation occurs toward the end of the lawsuit process. The attorneys start talking about a possible settlement. They may do so by themselves or in front of a mediator with the clients.
Most of the time, medical negligence cases settle before going to trial. The patient will most likely receive a favorable outcome and get reimbursement quicker.
If neither party can come to an agreement, then the case moves to trial. As a result, the length of the timeline extends further. Trials can get rescheduled multiple times due to the court’s schedule and other possible delays.
Most people prefer to settle beforehand since trials may make it harder for the patient to win. Around 21 percent of plaintiffs reach a successful verdict whereas 61 percent of plaintiffs reach a favorable settlement with the other party. One of the challenges of winning a trial is convincing the jury of the hospital’s wrongdoing.
A case of hospital negligence can be a lengthy and complex process. A DC medical malpractice lawyer can help you through each step of the way. They are aware of a medical malpractice victim’s need to recover from their injuries and make the process less stressful.
An experienced medical malpractice attorney can provide insight on how much you possibly can recover for damages. Since most cases end in a settlement, they can negotiate for the best outcome for their client. A medical malpractice lawyer also has enough experience to answer some of the questions you may have.
Even if you are unsure about whether you suffered from hospital negligence, you should consult a personal injury lawyer. You might be surprised at the fact that you could have a valid case. You should speak with your local attorney to see what compensation you might be entitled to receive.
If you were injured by medical negligence in the Washington, DC area, consider seeking the help of Regan Zambri Long PLLC. Our team works to find justice for those who suffered harm from hospital negligence. We passionately stay by their side as we maximize the value of their case.
Our medical malpractice lawyers have helped plenty of clients obtain large settlements. Each outcome may be different, but you can rest knowing we have your back. If you would like to learn more, contact us for a confidential case review today.
Anyone who is an employee at the hospital and had administered medical care to the injury victim could be held responsible for the negligence. This includes nurses, lab technicians, and support staff.
If it was a doctor who caused the injury and they are an employee at the hospital, then the hospital can be held liable. However, if the doctor was an independent contractor, the hospital may not be responsible.
It can be difficult for medical malpractice victims to determine whether they have a case on their own. That’s why it’s so important to speak with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible to learn their legal options.
If you believe you are a victim of hospital negligence, you can begin the process of establishing a claim. However, you will only have a limited time to do so. Every state and the District of Columbia has its own rules regarding the statute of limitations for medical malpractice.
In most places, a person has two or three years after the date of the injury. In Washington DC, the standard deadline is three years after the incident. Once the deadline has passed, you will no longer be able to file a lawsuit.
The statute of limitations does have a couple of exceptions. Known as the discovery rule, the timer does not start if the patient could not have reasonably known about the medical malpractice. The three-year deadline begins once the person knows they were injured and has some evidence of wrongdoing by the hospital.
If the victim was a minor, they have until they turn 21 to file a lawsuit. Other exceptions are if the healthcare provider intentionally hid the malpractice or left the District of Columbia after the incident.
Not necessarily. Medical mistakes unfortunately happen often. But in order for that mistake to be considered medical malpractice, you will need to show that the doctor had acted in a negligent manner when the mistake was made.
There may be times that a patient could be held responsible for an injury. For example, the patient ignored the doctor’s orders and moved heavy furniture after just having a knee replacement.
Under Washington, DC’s contributory negligence rule. This regulation states that if the plaintiff is found to be even 1 percent at fault for the accident, they cannot recover damages in a lawsuit. If you feel you may have some responsibility for your injury, it’s still important to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer at Regan Zambri Long to learn your legal options.
In many states, injured patients are required to file a Certificate of Merit prior to filing a medical malpractice lawsuit. This is a statement given by an independent physician who, after reviewing the patient’s claim, believes that the hospital or physician was negligent in the patient’s care.
Although Washington, DC does not require a Certificate of Merit, according to DC law, patients must inform all parties of their intent to sue within 90 days before filing the claim. In addition, the parties will need to attend a non-binding mediation in an attempt to reach a settlement.
If you were injured by a hospital’s mistake or a negligent medical professional anywhere in the DC area, you need to speak with an attorney that has the experience necessary to help you with your claim. Our medical malpractice team has years of experience and the medical knowledge needed to protect your claim and get you the compensation you deserve.
Don’t wait any longer. Contact Regan Zambri Long PLLC today to schedule a free consultation. There is no fee unless we win your case.