Trusted Washington, DC Medical Malpractice Lawyers
Protecting the Rights of Patients in DC for More Than 40 Years
When seeking medical treatment, you expect to receive the best care possible. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Many people suffer serious injury or even die because of medical errors. Healthcare providers, including doctors, dentists, nurses, and other medical staff, must be held accountable for injuries to patients due to medical malpractice or negligence.
At Paulson & Nace, PLLC, our team of Washington, DC medical malpractice attorneys represents clients throughout the District of Columbia in a wide range of medical malpractice cases. Senior partner Barry Nace’s cases have produced many groundbreaking decisions as well as millions of dollars in awards for his clients, including the two largest medical malpractice verdicts in Washington, DC. When your family is suffering because of a negligent medical professional, our family wants to hear your story.
I have found the firm so far to be very compassionate and understanding, something that seems to be rare in companies these days, let alone in attorneys. Chris Nace offered to help us when no one else would. That goes a long way in my book.
- What is medical malpractice?
- What kinds of medical malpractice cases do you handle?
- Who can be held liable for medical negligence?
- What damages can you claim for a medical malpractice case?
- How safe are Washington, D.C. hospitals?
- How a medical malpractice lawyer can help you.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice is a legal description for a professional negligent action or the failure to take action that caused injury to a patient. The action or failure to act must violate the standard of care that is accepted by other reasonable medical professionals under the same circumstances. There must be a direct line of causation between the negligent action and the patient’s injury, and the injury must have resulted in damages such as pain, disability, loss of income or other losses.
What are the four elements of medical malpractice?
Proving any medical malpractice case requires meeting specific legal elements. Those elements are:
- Duty. This means that there is a certain level of care owed to you that was created by entering a doctor-patient relationship.
- Breach. There must be factors that can show the duty of care did not meet the reasonable level of care expected of other doctors in that same community under similar circumstances.
- Causation. You must be able to prove the negligent act caused the injury as a result of the breach of the duty of care you were owed.
- Damages. You must show that you were physically and financially injured as a result of the medical care you received – or didn’t receive – at the hands of the defendant.
Without satisfying all the requirements, your claim, while still devastating to you, simply won’t meet the minimum bar to allow a court of law to hear your case. For example, if a surgeon nicks your bowel during a procedure, but fixes it quickly and you suffer no harm as a result, then you cannot sue for damages.
What Kinds of Medical Malpractice Cases Do You Handle?
Our DC medical malpractice attorneys work with families who have been victimized by negligent or incompetent healthcare providers, or who have been injured because of defective or faulty medical products. Though we handle all serious medical malpractice claims, our clients commonly come to us with claims involving:
- Failure to diagnose/misdiagnoses. A proper diagnosis made in a timely manner could be the difference between life and death. When your doctor or medical specialist fails to diagnose your condition, he or she delays the treatment you need to get well, or results in a failure to treat your condition We are particularly adept at cases where a missed or incorrect diagnosis has led to an exacerbated condition.
- Surgical errors. All surgeries come with risks, even when they are performed correctly. A surgical error adds to the risk of complications and in some cases, may lead to more serious illness or a needless revision surgery to correct the mistake. If your surgeon caused you harm, or a surgical team’s negligence led to a “never event,” contact us today.
- Medication errors. From illegible prescriptions to incorrect dosages to pharmacy errors, medication mistakes are among the most common – and most dangerous – types of medical malpractice cases. Our medical malpractice lawyers help families whose loved ones were harmed because of a medication error. We also represent individuals who have suffered during their chronic pain management treatments.
- Anesthesia errors. Proper use of anesthesia is complicated: too little and the patient feels every move the doctor makes, too much and the patient could potentially slip into a coma. We work with clients who have suffered harm because of local and general anesthesia errors.
- Emergency room errors. Emergency rooms are chaotic places, and the medical personnel and staff who work in them are often fatigued and overworked. Paulson & Nace’s medical malpractice attorneys advocate on behalf of patients whose conditions were missed or exacerbated because of an emergency room mistake.
- Healthcare providers under the influence. Prescription drug abuse is a growing problem in Washington, DC – a problem which extends, sadly, to the very people we trust with our lives. If you were treated by a medical professional who was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, we may be able to help.
- Dangerous drugs. Increasingly, prescription medications are entering the market without undergoing proper testing. Our DC medical malpractice lawyers have extensive experience taking on drug liability cases and knows how to build a winning case for patients who were injured because of dangerous drugs.
- Defective medical devices. Medical products like pacemakers or knee replacements are supposed to undergo rigorous testing before they are placed into a patient. Sometimes the products are not fully tested; other times, the products are made with defective or faulty parts. Our skilled team of trial attorneys has successfully represented clients who were harmed because of defective medical devices.
- Stem cell therapy malpractice. Stem cells are often hailed as a “miracle cure,” but most therapies are still in the initial, experimental stages. If you were involved in a clinical trial involving stem cell therapy, or sustained an injury or illness after undergoing treatment at a center “specializing” in stem cell therapy, we may be able to help.
What is informed consent, and why is it important?
As a patient, you have the right to know exactly how your procedure or medication should work, and what types of side-effects or results you may expect. Withholding that information from a patient means that you do not possess the facts required to make the best decisions for your care. The informed consent doctrine is “a duty imposed on a doctor to explain the risks of recommended procedures to a patient before a patient determines whether he or she should go forward with the procedure.” As a patient, you – or your guardian, if you are incapacitated – must give consent before undergoing any treatments. You also have the right to deny treatment for a variety of reasons. Medical professionals who perform a procedure without your informed consent are breaking the law, as are those who administer a treatment against your or your guardian’s express wishes. Informed consent is essential to avoiding medical battery, which is what performing a medical procedure without permission amount to.
Our DC medical malpractice attorneys strive to provide our clients with counsel and support that goes beyond the call of duty. We help you understand your rights as a patient and as a victim, and advocate aggressively on your behalf during trials or settlement negotiations.
Who Can Be Held Liable for Medical Negligence in Washington, D.C.?
When it comes to who is to blame for a medical malpractice injury your mind might jump straight to blaming the doctor. You may be right but do you know that it may not stop there? If a doctor has a history of making mistakes and the medical practice of hospital failed to take action to prevent further injuries in the future, there may be liability there too.
Any number of people or entities can play a role in causing injuries to patients, including:
- Hospitals, medical practices, urgent care clinics
- Plastic surgeons
It is possible to find that more than one party contributed to the negligence that caused your injuries. This is why it’s important to get a detailed picture of the events as they occurred. It will help identify everyone involved in your procedure or treatment so that we can determine whether they played a role in harming you and your family.
What Damages Can You Claim for a Medical Malpractice Case?
One of the first questions clients have is “what is my case worth?” Clients who come to us are understandably hurt and justifiably angry that the professionals they entrusted with their health betrayed that trust and caused substantial suffering. There is no standard amount injured victims can expect to be awarded should they win their case. The circumstances and depth of each injury vary as do the factors that go into determining a fair amount.
Some of the damages that are considered in a settlement or monetary award include:
- Medical expenses
- Current and future lost wages
- Punitive damages to punish the at-fault party
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss in the ability to enjoy life
- Pain and suffering
How Safe Are Washington, D.C. Hospitals?
How safe are the hospitals in your area? The patient safety advocates at Leapfrog have developed Hospital Safety Grades, which provides safety ratings for hospitals. Here’s a look at the safety grades that some of our local hospitals in the Washington, DC area have received for issues such as hospital acquired infection rates, surgical errors, safety problems, doctors, nurses and hospital staff:
- Howard University Hospital: D
- MedStar Washington Hospital Center: C
- George Washington University Hospital: C
- MedStar Georgetown University Hospital: C
- Sibley Memorial Hospital: A
It is your right to review hospital report cards to arm yourself with the best information about who is providing your medical care. The data provided on these reports can offer leads to evidence such as nursing staff burnouts posing a danger to patients, which can be crucial to proving your case.
Why medical bias should concern patients
A bias is a preconceived belief formed without weighing all of the available facts and evidence. In the health care arena medical bias can be deadly. It causes doctors and medical professionals to draw inaccurate conclusions about patients and can lead them down the wrong path when it comes to providing care. When doctors fail to listen to their patients, they miss valuable clues about medical conditions that can easily jeopardize that individual’s health. Issues such as a doctor’s ego and confidence in his or her knowledge and experience; or a patient’s race, age, gender, sexual orientation, and even address can create bias that leaves patients receiving inadequate medical treatment that can easily result in serious injury or death.
How a D.C. Medical Malpractice Lawyer Can Help You
The fact is that medical malpractice attorneys do a lot of leg work in between providing legal guidance and using our experience to negotiate, strategize, and litigate when it becomes necessary to head to trial to obtain justice for our clients.
Another fact is that the average individual doesn’t fare nearly as well on their own when dealing with malpractice carriers because insurers experts at avoiding payouts to save money. They have the upper hand because they know you’re out of your element, you’re stressed both psychologically and financially, and you’re personally invested so you’re more likely to make detrimental decisions based on emotion and fear.
There’s a lot to consider before filing a medical malpractice suit; attorneys remove a lot of the burden for you by:
- Reviewing your medical records to parse out the details that will build your case.
- Subpoenaing entities to obtain evidence that aids in proving your case.
- Interviewing witnesses who hold details that can help paint a picture that shows fault.
- Handling insurance company information requests and settlement negotiations.
- Preparing you for giving testimony at depositions and at trial.
- Working with various types of experts to strengthen your case such as financial or medical experts who help show how your injuries will affect you in the long run.
- Handling appeals if your claim was previously denied
Protecting the rights of medical malpractice victims in Washington, D.C.
If you suspect that you or a loved one has been injured or a loved one killed because of a medical mistake, it is important to consult with an experienced Washington DC medical malpractice lawyer immediately to protect your legal rights. Since there are strict time limits for filing medical malpractice cases in Washington, DC, it is important to contact Paulson & Nace, PLLC, as soon as possible to schedule your free case evaluation by calling 202-463-1999 or by reaching out to us through our contact page.
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