Simeone & Miller, LLP has the skills and resources to level the playing field, protect your rights, and help you obtain just compensation. When you meet with us, you will work directly with a skilled medical malpractice attorney who will assess the merits of your case and explore all your legal options. Trust us to fight for your rights every step of the way. Contact us today for a free consultation. 

What Is Medical Malpractice?

All skilled professionals are held to a high ethical standard. However, the standard for doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals is higher because they deal with matters of life and death. In short, they have a legal duty to provide the “appropriate standard of care.” This is the level of care a reasonably skilled healthcare professional would have provided under the same circumstances. A medical professional who fails to provide this level of care and harms a patient may be liable for medical malpractice. 

Types of Medical Malpractice Claims

At Simeone & Miller, we have extensive experience negotiating and litigating medical malpractice claims arising from: 

Our Washington, D.C. medical malpractice attorneys have recovered millions of dollars for victims and will work tirelessly to protect your rights and interests. 

Elements of a Medical Malpractice Claim

To have a successful medical malpractice claim, you must prove the following elements of negligence:

  1. Duty of Care. In any medical malpractice case, an established duty of care must exist. This means a doctor-patient relationship existed. The doctor-patient relationship is established if you see your doctor professionally and book an appointment. 
  2. Breach of Duty. Some medical treatments don’t yield the results we want, but that alone isn’t enough to warrant a medical malpractice claim. A case only has merits if the doctor, nurse, or hospital was negligent or made a serious medical error. In short, you must prove that the doctor or nurse failed to provide care that any other “reasonably skillful and careful” professional would have provided
  3. Causation. You must prove that the medical professional’s negligence directly caused your injuries. 
  4. Damages. You must be able to show that you suffered actual damages, such as physical injury, mental anguish, additional medical expenses, and lost wages. 

What Should I Do If My Doctor Injured Me?

If you believe a doctor has committed malpractice, take the necessary steps to protect yourself from danger, such as seeking a second opinion or securing a transfer from the hospital to which you’ve been admitted. Once you are out of danger, contact our D.C. medical malpractice attorneys immediately.

The next step is to obtain copies of any medical records that support your case. Once we have all relevant medical records, we will do a preliminary evaluation to determine whether malpractice has occurred. Some of the most common examples of medical malpractice include:

  • Preventable injuries: Side effects and injuries are expected after some medical procedures and treatments. However, abnormal and avoidable injuries can lead to serious medical complications, risks, and even death.
  • Informed consent: Your doctor must obtain informed consent before administering medical treatment. If a doctor fails to provide the information you need about the risks associated with your treatment, you may be able to sue for damages.
  • Failure to provide treatment: Once the doctor obtains consent, they must provide the treatment you accepted. Malpractice occurs when a doctor provides medical treatment outside the “accepted standard.”
  • Facility maintenance: Hospital maintenance can affect the quality of your treatment. If a poorly maintained facility or piece of equipment caused your injury or illness, you may be able to seek financial compensation for your damages.
  • Safety procedures: All medical professionals must protect their patients by implementing and following safety standards. When these standards are ignored, patients can suffer serious injuries, infections, and more.

What If My Injury Was a Known Risk of Procedure?

A “known risk of a procedure” is an injury that can occur regardless of whether or not the doctor is negligent in performing the procedure. This is often a valid defense for the physician. However, you should still consult a medical malpractice lawyer even if you believe that the injury you sustained was a known risk.

Medicine is not an exact science. Sometimes, even minor complications can result in a detrimental outcome. The question is: were you appropriately diagnosed by your physician(s) and if not, would the outcome be different if you were? Our medical malpractice lawyers in D.C. can help you answer these questions.

Can I Afford to File a Medical Malpractice Claim?

At Simeone & Miller, we handle all medical malpractice claims on a contingency basis. This means that you pay nothing to us unless we win compensation for you. Our firm 

we will advance the costs and expenses, including expert witness fees, court filing fees, deposition costs, and any other expenses directly related to your case. This allows you to pursue a case without spending thousands of dollars in costs and expenses. 

How Much Will I Have to Participate in the Case?

Medical malpractice claims will typically involve a large investment of time by the firm, but relatively little time for the injured patient. During our initial consultation, we will obtain the information necessary to evaluate your case and begin to pursue your claim.

Once we file suit, you will be limited to a few court appearances, such as a deposition, a mediation conference and, if we cannot settle your case, a trial.  The time you will need to devote depends on the case, but is generally very manageable.

What If the Statute of Limitations Has Run Out?

As soon as you suspect that you have been a victim of malpractice, you should contact a medical malpractice lawyer immediately. There are numerous exceptions that can serve to lengthen the amount of time you have to file a medical malpractice lawsuit in Washington, D.C., Maryland, or Virginia. These rules include the discovery rule, the continuing treatment rule, and extension for periods of incapacity. 

Lawsuit Requirements by Jurisdiction

The rules for filing a medical malpractice case will vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia each have their own rules.

How to File a Case in Maryland

Under Maryland Courts and Judicial Proceedings §3-2A-04, any person bringing a claim against a healthcare provider for medical negligence must first file a claim with the Health Claims Arbitration Office. Once filed, the director of that office will serve a copy of the lawsuit to all healthcare professionals named in the claim.

The plaintiff must also file a “certificate of a qualified expert” within 90 days of filing. This report must be completed by a healthcare provider and must assert not only that there was a departure from the standard of care, but also that the departure from the standard of care was a proximate cause of injury.

After filing a certificate of a qualified expert, the plaintiff would have the option to unilaterally waive out of arbitration. Their claim would be transferred to the appropriate Maryland circuit court for litigation.

How to File a Case in Washington, D.C.

Under D.C. Code §16-2802, the plaintiff must, within 90 days prior to filing a lawsuit, provide notice to any medical provider that they intend to sue. The notice is required to include sufficient information to put the defendant on notice of the legal basis for the claim and the type of loss sustained, including information about the injuries. However, the law is unclear whether the date of the notice is the date that it is mailed or served, so all notices should be served by hand if they are within 90 days of the actual statute of limitations.

How to File a Case in Virginia

In Virginia, you can file directly in the appropriate circuit court. However, prior to requesting service on any defendant, you must obtain a certification from a qualified medical expert that there was a departure from the standard of care and that the departure from the standard of care was a proximate cause of injury.

Any certifying expert must be a healthcare provider that your attorney reasonably believes would be qualified to serve under Virginia Code §8.01-581.20. Defense counsel can request certification from the plaintiff that proper certification was obtained. The plaintiff, then, has 10 days to certify that a proper certification was obtained.

Contact Our Washington, D.C. Medical Malpractice Attorneys for a FREE Consultation

If you or a loved one has suffered injuries because of a healthcare professional’s negligence, you have a valid medical malpractice claim. Contact Simeone & Miller today so we can start working on your claim. 

Simeone & Miller, LLP, based in Washington, D.C., provides personal injury and medical malpractice legal services across Maryland and Virginia. In Maryland, our services extend to Baltimore City, Prince George’s County, Montgomery County, Howard County, Anne Arundel County, and Frederick. In Virginia, we serve clients in Arlington County, Alexandria, Fairfax County, Fairfax City, Falls Church, Loudoun County, Prince William County, Manassas, and Manassas Park.