Medical Malpractice at a Hospital in D.C.
Many times we get phone calls from folks who have been legitimately, seriously injured in a hospital and they want to know if they should file a lawsuit against the doctor, HMO, or hospital. And many times, people have legitimate claims of negligence or medical malpractice. But the thing about medical malpractice is that there is a lot to consider besides just the injury, and a lot of people don't know that there are sometimes years of investigation that go into a medical malpractice claim before a lawsuit is even filed.
Especially cases involving children or babies - sometimes the extent of the harm won't be known until the child is 4 or 5 years old (other times it is obvious - in cases involving cerebral palsy, damage to the child's brain, or paralysis). So, a good DC medical malpractice attorney will let you know not only how long you have to file a case (to make sure you are within the statute of limitations - the time limit for filing a case) but how long it will take to determine the extent of your child's injuries or developmental delays.
In fact, medical malpractice claims are so hard to pursue that only a handful of attorneys are actually practicing in this area.
The first thing that you need to prove is that the doctor, nurse, tech, or hospital was negligent. This can be established by reviewing medical records, medical literature and texts, hospital protocols, the practices of other hospitals across the country and other information to determine the set of patient safety rules the hospital should have followed - this is often called the standard of care. You have to also prove that violating those rules was a cause of your injury.
This can be determined initially by reviewing your medical records, medical literature, protocols, etc. but it also requires analysis and testimony by expert witnesses, which typically costs thousands of dollars (another reason not many lawyers handle DC medical malpractice cases - they are expensive).
Now, if people don't have a serious, permanent injury, why do we tell them we can't help them, even if the hospital was negligent?