District of Columbia Nursing Home Neglect Laws
Caps on Damages and Attorney’s Fees
In Washington, D.C., there are no caps on medical malpractice awards or suits against health care industry providers. Compensatory damages are awarded to compensate the plaintiff for actual damage which was suffered at hands of the defendant.
In the District of Columbia it is ethical to charge contingent fees as long as the fee is appropriate and reasonable and the client has been fully informed of the availability of alternative billing arrangements. As an ethical matter, the percentage of a contingent fee may be increased on the basis of how far the lawyer must proceed in prosecuting the case
Statute of Limitations
The District of Columbia’s statute of limitations on negligence and medical malpractice actions resulting in personal injury is 3 years. A wrongful death action must be brought within one year of the date of death.
Enforcement of Nursing Home Regulations and Residents’ Rights
Nursing home regulations and licensing standards for the District of Columbia are codified at Chapter 22-B32: Nursing Facilities. Among other things, the District of Columbia regulates administrative management, licenses, administrative records, nursing services, care and personnel, resident care and resident safety.
In addition to rights provided under federal law, the District of Columbia guarantees certain rights to all nursing home residents. A complete list of the District of Columbia’s nursing home residents’ rights can be found at Rule 22-B3269. A cornerstone of residents’ rights is that all residents must be treated with respect and dignity and assured privacy during treatment and when receiving personal care. This includes the right to be free from chemical and physical restraints except as permitted by federal or District law.
The DC Department of Health, Board of Nursing Home Administration, advises the Mayor and administers and enforces the law. The Board also evaluates nursing home applicants’ qualifications and administers exams; recommends protocols and procedures; issues licenses; receives and reviews complaints made against facilities; requests investigations and conducts hearings. The Health Regulation Administration takes periodic enforcement actions against nursing homes and hospitals.
Who is Responsible for Providing Care?
The District of Columbia requires the Medical Director to assume full responsibility for the overall supervision of the medical care provided in the facility. The medical directors responsibilities include, inter alia, coordinating medical care at the facility; implementing resident care policies; developing written medical bylaws and medical policies; serving as liaison with attending physicians to ensure the prompt issuance and implementation of orders; reviewing incidents and accidents; ensuring that medical components of resident care policies are followed.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not legal advice and should not be used as legal advice. The legal statutes, laws and procedures contained in this article may not be current and may have been revised since the time of publication or contain errors. An attorney can provide legal guidance only after reviewing the details of your individual case.