Washington, DC statute of limitations for injury and medical malpractice cases

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What is the Statue of Limitations for Filing a Personal Injury Claim in DC?

Deadline for filing a lawsuit in the District of Columbia

The DC statute of limitations sets a time deadline on when a personal injury lawsuits or medical malpractice claim may be filed. If you do not file your legal claim within the applicable legal timeline, the law is strict and you usually will not be able to file a claim. Knowing which statute of limitations applies to your injury claim is therefore a critical piece of information and must be understood in order to determine your legal options.

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If the legal deadline that applies to your case is anywhere close (meaning less than two years), we recommend contacting an experienced injury attorney in order to determine your next step. The DC personal injury lawsuit process can act slowly and it is always preferable to file a claim early than late, when it may be invalid. Drafting and filing a legal claim, locating defendants, and other tasks that go with filing a lawsuit can be extremely time intensive and require substantial planning.

How is the deadline to file a lawsuit measured?

Under DC law, the statute of limitations period is measured from the “time the right to maintain the action accrues.” DC Code Ann. § 12-301. For injury cases, a cause of action normally accrues on the date of an injury. For example, if you suffered a serious fire and burn injury, the deadline clock would begin running the day you were burned. There are also additional requirements that must be met if you are filing a claim against a governmental entity.

The deadline that applies to your claim can change according to court decisions or legislation. For instance, the statute of limitations for wrongful death actions in the District of Columbia was lengthened from one year to two years in 2013. Because this area of law is subject to change, we recommend consulting with an attorney experienced in handling statute of limitations issues.

The following are some deadlines that apply to civil cases filed in Washington, DC:

  • Medical malpractice:                                     3 years              DC Code Ann. § 12-301(8)
  • Injury to real or personal property:              3 years              DC Code Ann. § 12-301(3)
  • Product liability:                                              3 years              DC Code Ann. § 12-301(8)
  • Assault, battery, false arrest:                        1 years              DC Code Ann. § 12-301(4)
  • Personal injury:                                               3 years              DC Code Ann. § 12-301(8)
  • Property damage by toxic substance:        5 years              DC Code Ann. § 12-301(10)
  • Wrongful death:                                              2 years              DC.Code Ann. § 16-2702

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The Cochran Firm handles Medical Malpractice, Catastrophic Personal Injuries, Motor Vehicle Accidents & Wrongful Death Claims for clients throughout the United States of America. The information on this website does not constitute legal advice nor form an attorney-client relationship. Please contact The Cochran Firm today to schedule a free consultation.
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