The statute of limitations for a child is until age 21 in D.C.
How do we know that? We won a case for a young man with cerebral palsy caused by medical mistakes that should have been avoided. The doctor was negligent in providing proper prenatal care and an infection that should have been diagnosed and treated led to the baby being born severely premature. He suffers from cerebral palsy and is completely disabled.
The young man's mom came to us after several experienced medical malpractice lawyers turned down the case. If you have a severely disabled child and suspect his condition was caused by mistakes by a doctor, hospital or HMO, always have your medical records reviewed by another medical malpractice lawyer.
Since the statute of limitations is tolled in D.C. while a child is a minor (until age 18), he or she has until age 21 to file a lawsuit for injuries (a case can, and if at all possible should be filed much sooner than that, of course.) Since this young man's mom kept fighting for him, and came to us before he turned 21, we were able to investigate the case and file it for him, ultimately, we hope, making an important difference in his life by helping the family secure the financial stability needed to help care for the young man.
After we won at trial, the doctor argued on appeal that the case should have been filed earlier, and that the parent of a disabled child cannot wait until age 21 to file his case for medical malpractice damages. The Court did not agree with that.
Generally, for an adult, the statute of limitations for injury cases and medical malpractice is 3 years from the date of injury in the District of Columbia. There is a specific notice provision to comply with as well if your injury or condition was caused by a health care provider.
Children, of course, are different. The statute of limitaions in the District of Columbia doesn't begin to run until the child turns 18 years old. So he or she can can file a lawsuit up to age 21.
Should you wait to age 21 to file a case for your disabled son or daughter?
No - and there are lots of reasons to investigate and file a malpractice case as soon as possible.
Sometimes waiting many years can make a case more difficult, and there are several complicating factors to keep in mind (another reason why you should call to discuss the specifics of your situation, in confidence and without any obligation or cost to you).
For example, if your child suffers from cerebral palsy due to delivery in a D.C. hospital, you can file a lawsuit up to his 21st birthday - and possibly beyond that time if he is mentally incompetent. But D.C. medical malpractice laws require notice be given to each hospital, doctor or healthcare provider being sued for medical negligence, so you will have to comply with the notice provision before filing the lawsuit.
The moral of the story is - don't wait.
If your child has cerebral palsy, paralysis or brain damage, have your child's medical care investigated by experienced medical malpractice lawyers. There are a lot of reasons for taking action sooner rather than later - medical records are lost, witnesses die, etc., but here's the best one - a successful medical malpractice case can take care of your child's needs. It can provide the financial security and stability to make sure your child is taken care of.
That's what it's all about.
We're here to help. We've done it before. And we make it easy. Just call us at (202) 393-3320 and we can get started helping your child and your family.