Medical Malpractice in Washington, D.C.

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Statute of Limitations: 3 Years (except for minors, the disabled or incarcerated)

Discovery: 3 Years from Discovery

Liability Rules: Shared Fault/Contributory Negligence

Limits: None

What You Should Know

Below we cover a general outline of what you need to know in the case of filing a medical malpractice in the state of Washington, D.C. A medical malpractice or medical liability case is a civil claim filed by a patient in pain or who has been injured by cause of a physician or health care provider due to negligence or omission.

Statute of Limitations

The Statute of Limitations to file a medical malpractice case in Washington, D.C. is a strict three years. The only exception to this rule is in the case of minors, the disabled and incarcerated.

Before we get into any of the exceptions of filing a civil claim, let us first cover what must first be established or able to be proven in order to file a claim:

  • The physician or health care provider owed the given patient any ‘duty’. For example, further treatment, alternate care, guidance, etc.
  • The standard of care for the given illness or ailment failed to be met. Each surgery or treatment has a set of conditions, or standards, that must be met in order to be considered acceptable, or at the most basic level, complete.
  • There is a compensable injury. Unfortunately not all injuries are compensable. A worst case scenario for medical malpractice is fatality. However, if there are reconcilable damage to the patient that can be rectified to some degree, that will help in filing a claim.
  • Lastly, not only does it have to be proven that the standard of care was breached, but also that it was the cause of harm or damage to the patient. For example, if indeed a doctor did neglect the standard of care for a given treatment, but that was not the cause of harm or injury to the patient, it may not be enough to open a case.

Minors, Disabled and Incarcerated

In the District of Columbia, minors have until their eighteenth birthday for the 3-year clock to start ticking. In the case where the person filing for malpractice is disabled or incarcerated, the clock will not start running until they are deemed mentally competent or until they are released from incarceration.

Notice of Intention to File

In Washington, D.C. the injured or harmed party must notify the healthcare provider or practicing physician that they are filing a claim 90 days prior to filing their case. They must notify them firstly, that they are filing a claim, and secondly, what it is they are filing for. The patient must provide a detailed description or summary of the harm or pain they incurred due to that provider or physicians negligence or omission.


There is a lot of information necessary to understand before even filing a medical malpractice case. It is, no doubt, a daunting endeavor; however, receiving just compensation or rectifying damage for the sake of you or your family’s health should be a top priority. It is best to seek an experienced team of attorneys to assist in filing a civil claim such as medical malpractice.

How Can We Help You?

If you or a loved one have been injured in the District of Columbia, contact us at 432.570.1919 or email us using the form below for your free, no-obligation consultation. The Buckingham Barrera Law Firm has helped thousands of people in multiple states get the compensation they deserve for their injuries.