If you have suffered injuries due to medical malpractice in Washington, D.C., Maryland, or Virginia, it is imperative that you contact a medical malpractice lawyer right away. Because doctors and hospitals are required to carry large insurance policies, they are often equipped with significant resources, as well as all medical records. Attempting to stand up to your doctor’s insurance company and their team of lawyers without legal representation of your own could result in the loss of your rights to recover compensation, regardless of the merits of your claim. You need a medical malpractice lawyer from Simeone & Miller, LLP who will fight for your rights every step of the way.
Our team at Simeone & Miller, LLP has a level of experience you can count on. You can use our success to your advantage and rely on our knowledge and resources to effectively pursue your medical malpractice claim.
All skilled professionals are held to a high ethical standard. For doctors, nurses, and medical specialists, that standard is even higher because they deal with matters of life and death. The medical “standard of care” is usually defined as the level of care and attention you would expect from an ordinary healthcare professional in the same area as your physician. Patients have a right to expect that their physicians will satisfy this “standard of care” throughout the entire process of medical examination, diagnosis, treatment, and aftercare.
A breach of this duty of care would be considered medical malpractice.
The first thing you should do if you believe a doctor has committed malpractice is take whatever steps are necessary to ensure that you are no longer in danger. Those steps may include seeking a second opinion or securing a transfer from the hospital in which you have been admitted. Once you are out of danger, contact our D.C. medical malpractice attorneys immediately.
The next step would be to obtain copies of any medical records that would support your case. In most cases, it is important to obtain these records in a way that minimizes suspicion by the healthcare provider. Once we have all relevant medical records, we will do a preliminary evaluation to see if malpractice has, in fact, occurred.
We generally do not charge a fee for our work in determining whether or not you have a case.
Some of the most common examples of medical malpractice include:
If you were harmed by a negligent medical professional, you may have grounds to file a medical malpractice claim. However, in order to successfully bring a claim, there are a few basic requirements that must be satisfied.
#1: Established Duty of Care
In any medical malpractice case, there must be an established duty of care – meaning a doctor-patient relationship existed. If you saw your doctor in a professional setting, by booking an appointment, the doctor-patient relationship has been established. However, medical professionals must satisfy the applicable standard of care even if they do not bill for their services or write up formal records.
#2: Proof of Negligence
Some medical treatments don’t yield the results we want, but that alone isn’t enough to warrant a legitimate medical malpractice claim. A case would only exist if the doctor, nurse, or hospital was negligent or made a serious medical error. The patient, or the patient’s family, must be able to prove that the doctor or nurse failed to provide care that any other “reasonably skillful and careful” professional would have been able to offer.
#3: Potential Cause
The injured patient must also be able to prove that a negligent medical professional actually caused the damage(s) they sustained. For example, if someone was already injured or ill when the doctor acted negligently, their actions might not have caused additional damage. The liable doctor, nurse, or hospital must have directly caused the resulting damages in order for the claim to have any validity.
#4: Injuries / Damages
Lastly, in order for a medical malpractice claim to exist, the injured party must be able to show that they have suffered damages. Even if the doctor acted negligently, but their mistake did not cause any harm, there can be no claim. The harm the individual has suffered must be directly caused by malpractice. However, harm needn’t always be physical; it can also include mental anguish, additional medical expenses, and loss of wages.
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. Many times, this is a valid defense for the physician; however, even if you believe that your injury occurred because it was a known risk, you should still consult with a medical malpractice lawyer.
We can help you determine if your injury could have been prevented or avoided with a timely diagnosis.
It’s also important to remember that medicine is not an exact science. Sometimes, even minor complications can contribute to 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, and more.
When you work with Simeone & Miller, we will advance the costs and expenses in your case. These include expert witness fees, court filing fees, deposition costs, and any other expenses directly related to the litigation of your case. This allows you to pursue a case without having to spend thousands of dollars in costs and expenses.
Our contingency fee policy ensures that you pay nothing unless we win your case.
While a medical malpractice claim will typically involve a large investment of time by the attorneys handling the case, they require relatively little investment on the part of the injured patient. You should expect to meet with us initially so that we can obtain the information necessary to evaluate your case and begin to pursue your claim.
Once we file suit, your role will be limited to a few court appearances, such as a deposition, a mediation conference and, of course, trial, if we are not able to settle your case. The exact amount of time you will need to devote depends on the case, but overall is far less than the time spent by your attorneys and is generally very manageable.
If you were injured by a negligent healthcare professional, you need to work with a qualified medical malpractice lawyer in Washington, D.C. who has the level of skill to handle your case. At Simeone & Miller, our medical malpractice attorneys in Washington, D.C. have recovered millions of dollars for medical malpractice victims, so you can count on us to protect your best interests.
Common examples of medical negligence include:
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. As soon as you suspect that you have been a victim of malpractice, you should contact a medical malpractice lawyer immediately. What you may believe is a hopeless case may, in fact, not be.
The rules for filing a medical malpractice case will vary wildly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia each have their own unique set of rules that can trap unwary plaintiff’s attorneys.
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.
Under the same statute, 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.
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.
If you find yourself within 90 days of the statute of limitations, the notice under D.C. Code §16-2802 must still be sent. However, the statute of limitations will be extended to 90 days from the date of the notice. 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.
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.
If you believe a healthcare professional committed an act of malpractice, it is important that you discuss the case with a D.C. medical malpractice lawyer immediately. Contact a medical malpractice lawyer from Simeone & Miller to learn more about your rights.
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