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Can You Sue for Medical Malpractice Without a Lawyer?

Doctor talking to female patient regarding her diagnosis.

Representing yourself in a medical malpractice lawsuit is certainly an option, though rarely a good one. Because they exist at the intersection of two highly specialized fields — medicine and law — medical malpractice lawsuits tend to be legally and factually complex. These cases nearly always require the attention of a malpractice lawyer with the knowledge, experience, and resources to evaluate the available evidence in your case and compellingly argue about medical standards on your behalf.

The Law Offices of Dr. Michael M. Wilson, M.D., J.D. & Associates specialize in handling these kinds of cases. Dr. Michael Wilson’s training as both a lawyer and physician leaves him particularly well-qualified to handle medical malpractice lawsuits and enables him to build the strongest case possible on behalf of each of his clients. Contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. Read on to learn more about medical malpractice lawsuits.

What is Medical Malpractice?

We are all legally obligated to take adequate precautions to avoid harming others through our actions. Failure to do so results in negligence. If someone’s negligence causes an accident, injured victims may file a lawsuit seeking compensation from the at-fault party. The standard of care in these cases varies based on context. However, it is generally determined by speculating about what a “reasonable person” would have done in a comparable situation.

Healthcare providers, such as surgeons and anesthesiologists, are legally and professionally obligated to uphold a higher, more specialized standard when providing services to their patients. In the District of Columbia, the governing law provides as follows: “A licensed physician shall conform to the prevailing standards of acceptable medical practice as determined by the Board or a peer review panel appointed by the Board.” Only somewhat less ambiguously, the standard of care in medical malpractice cases corresponds to that a reasonably competent professional with similar training and experience would have applied in a similar situation.

It is hard to say exactly how often medical malpractice occurs in the United States. Because most medical malpractice cases are settled out of court, chances are the number of cases involving true malpractice is seriously undercounted. That said, a recent report published by Johns Hopkins Medicine concludes that medical error results in over 250,000 deaths every year nationwide.

What Are the Challenges of Handling a Medical Malpractice Claim Without a Lawyer?

Personal injury cases are already complicated, especially when they go to trial. They become even more so when they involve medical malpractice. The reason is simple: medicine is a highly complex field that requires years of specialized training and continuing education to master. In turn, this means that determining the appropriate standard of care in each case requires a close, contextualized look at the facts.

In part, this is why the legal standard discussed in the foregoing section are so open-ended, forcing plaintiffs and defendants in malpractice lawsuits to argue within the context of their case. And because there is so much room to argue, it is essential that you work with an experienced attorney who can push back against sophisticated, combative defendants.

Medical malpractice judgement concept

What Damages Can I Recover Through a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?

If you successfully prove that a medical care provider injured you by violating their professional standard of care, you may be entitled to a wide range of compensation, which should reflect both the economic and noneconomic impact your injuries have on your life. Our legal team can help you pursue compensation for things like:

  • Medical care bills incurred treating your injuries
  • Lost income from time missed at work
  • Lowered future earning capacity if your injuries cause a long-term disability
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Lowered quality of life

Importantly, unlike many other jurisdictions, the District of Columbia places no cap on the amount of compensation plaintiffs may receive in medical malpractice cases. Our legal team is ready to conduct a thorough, independent investigation of your case. We will leave no stone unturned as we pursue the full and fair compensation you deserve. Please explore results we have achieved on behalf of our clients.

What are the Deadlines Governing Medical Malpractice Lawsuits in Washington, D.C.?

If you are planning on filing a medical malpractice lawsuit in the District of Columbia, there are two important deadlines to bear in mind. First, the governing statute of limitations generally requires that you file personal injury lawsuits, including those involving medical malpractice, within three years from the date on which you were injured.  Second, you must also give the defendant in your case written notice of your intention to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against them at least 90 days before filing.

Remember that these timing requirements are strictly enforced by courts, especially the deadline set by the statute of limitations. Failure to comply with these deadlines will have serious negative consequences for your case. In most instances, presiding judges are forced to dismiss late filings. This has the double effect of destroying your right to seek compensation in court, as well as giving the at-fault party the upper hand in out-of-court settlement negotiations.

The best way to avoid these consequences is by consulting with an experienced medical malpractice attorney early on. This will give your attorney plenty of time to investigate your case and build a solid claim on your behalf.

Contact Our Washington, D.C., Medical Malpractice Lawyers

If you believe your medical provider injured you or violated their professional standard of care, the best thing to do is speak to a medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible. This will ensure that you know your rights and do not miss out on the full and fair compensation you deserve for your injuries and other losses. The legal team at The Law Offices of Dr. Michael M. Wilson, M.D., J.D. & Associates is here to help. We have the experience and skills needed to handle your case from start to finish. Contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.

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