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What if I Don’t Notice Immediately that I Have Been the Victim of Medical Malpractice?

More times than not, you know about an injury the minute it happens. However, there are some injuries that take months or even years to reveal themselves. As you can imagine, this makes medical malpractice claims somewhat complicated. For example, you might not realize that your doctor prescribed the wrong medication until you develop a serious ailment years later. Luckily, Washington D.C. law explicitly addresses such situations.

Statute of limitations

Like most other jurisdictions, Washington D.C. abides by a series of statutes of limitations that determine how long after an injury individuals may file personal injury lawsuits. Here, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice is three years after the date of the injury. In other words, you cannot file a medical malpractice suit if you wait longer than three years to file.


The discovery rule

If you weren’t aware of an injury until well after the date it occurred, you can still file a medical malpractice suit in some cases. According to the discovery rule, the limitations period doesn’t begin until an individual actually discovers the injury. This is a complicated component of a medical malpractice claim, so be sure to consult with an attorney to go over your options.

Discovering an injury

Since the results of many medical decisions take years to reveal themselves, the discovery rule is especially important in the case of medical malpractice suits. For example, if a doctor fails to diagnose cancer that remains dormant in the body for four years, the patient can file a medical malpractice suit for three years after the cancer is discovered.

Filing a lawsuit

If you discover an injury that you believe to be a direct result of an existing medical decision, you should contact a medical malpractice attorney right away. A skilled attorney can greatly improve your chances of a substantial settlement or a court ruling in your favor.


You should never have to suffer because of another’s mistake. For help filing a medical malpractice suit, call the attorneys of The Rich Firm at (202) 529-9379. We have decades of collective experience helping victims of negligence receive the compensation they deserve. Call today to schedule your free initial consultation.