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Medical Negligence Case Involving Athlete With Post Concussive Syndrome Challenged By Statute Of Limitations

Plaintiff Jennifer Bradley was a student-athlete on the field hockey team at American University in Washington D.C. During her third year, Bradley sustained a concussion during a match. She continued to endure symptoms of a concussion and expressed this, both verbally and in writing, to the team management and trainers. She was at no time directed to stop participating in the sport (practice or competitively) for any period of time. She asserts that the organization failed to correctly diagnose the problem or take actions to safeguard the condition. This failure led to further related damage and ultimately to development of post concussive syndrome, that is likely to be chronic, and caused her to withdraw from the University for that school year. The medical negligence claim named defendants in the case are American University, the Federal Government, the NCAA, and three medical providers.

The suit was filed in 2014 at the District of Columbia Superior Count alleged that American University and the NCAA lacked proper procedural guidelines for handling concussions. Meanwhile, she sent notices out according to District of Columbia procedure to the several healthcare providers named in the suit regarding their failures to maintain proper standards of care. One of the providers in the suit was Dr. Anthony Williams, a military physician.

All of the defendants submitted motions to dismiss their cases for varying reasons. Dr. Williams was determined to be an employee of the federal government, thus the case was moved to the U.S. District Court in D.C. The government claimed that Ms. Bradley improperly filed her suit because six months had not elapsed since originally notifying the government of the lawsuit. The Motion to Dismiss was granted and the case was sent back to the Superior Court.

The Government next argued that Bradley’s claims should be dismissed based on the two-year statute of limitations because she did not file the claim with the appropriate agency for Dr. Williams, who was acting as their employee. They further explained that Bradley failed in her efforts of conducting due diligence to determine the status of employment for a defendant.

The court ruled in Bradley’s favor stating that she tried to resolve the issue with the University in a timely manner, obtained medical experts, and complied with jurisdictional regulations. She truly believed that Dr. Williams worked for the University as a trainer for the hockey team, yet still filed federal Form 95 with the federal agency. Further, the true nature of Williams’ employment status was not revealed until much later, and the plaintiff had no means of prior making this determination. The fact that Williams was a government employee was concealed, appearing that he worked for the medical center contracted with the University. It appears that after five years Bradley may finally begin to truly pursue her case.

About the Author

Charles GilmanCharles Gilman
Charles Gilman

As managing partner and co-founder of Gilman & Bedigian, it is my mission to help our clients recover and get their lives back on track. I strongly believe that every person who is injured by a wrongful act deserves compensation, and I will do my utmost to bring recompense to those who need and deserve it.


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