When we see healthcare providers, we hope they will treat us with the utmost care.
Nonetheless, medical errors may occur which can result in serious injury or even death.
In fact, medical malpractice is the third leading cause of death in the United States.
You may wonder how to start a medical malpractice claim if you are the victim of a medical mistake.
The attorneys and medical investigators at Baird Mandalas Brockstedt & Federico can walk you through how to start a medical malpractice claim. We are here for you.
How to File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
In Maryland, several specific steps need to be followed in order to file a malpractice suit. We will explain how to file a medical malpractice lawsuit below.
Begin with the Arbitration Panel
Many of our clients ask us how to start a medical malpractice claim.
In Maryland, if your case involves damages over $30,000.00, you must first file your claim with the Maryland Health Care Alternative Dispute Resolution Office (HCADRO). A panel of three individuals will hear your medical malpractice claim. The panel will include a healthcare professional, a public member, and a lawyer.
File a Certificate from a Qualified Expert
A person bringing a medical malpractice claim for damage due to a medical injury in Maryland must file a certificate of a qualified expert.
A “qualified” expert must, among other requirements, be board certified in the same or a related specialty as the defendant.
The expert must also have had clinical experience in the field of health care in which the defendant provided care or treatment to the plaintiff within 5 years of the alleged negligence giving rise to the cause of action.
The certificate shall attest to departure from standards of care, and that the departure from standards of care is the proximate cause of the alleged injury. Doing so will prove that a physician has looked over your claim. It also shows that this doctor believes that your provider breached their duty of care and that causation is present.
In other words, the expert must “certify” that the health care provider’s breach of the standards of care caused the claimed injuries. The certificate must be filed within 90 days from the date of the complaint. Contact our lawyers, and we can guide you through filing a malpractice suit.
Filing a Malpractice Suit: Do I Have a Medical Malpractice Case?
You might be asking yourself if you have a medical malpractice case. There are various types of medical malpractice that may cause a patient to suffer devastating injuries.
If you are wondering if you qualify to file a medical malpractice lawsuit, the experienced lawyers at Baird Mandalas Brockstedt & Federico can help.
Some of the most frequent kinds of medical malpractice cases are listed below.
Birth injuries can result from medical mistakes that occur at or around the time of birth.
Brain injuries can occur because of anesthesia mistakes, medication errors, misdiagnoses, or other medical mishaps.
A person might experience paralysis due to numerous medical mistakes, such as a misdiagnosis or a surgical error. Errors during childbirth or spinal cord surgery can cause paralysis as well.
An amputation can result because a health care provider did not properly diagnose and treat an infection or because a provider did not properly treat a wound.
Medication mistakes or a failure to treat blood clots can also result in an amputation.
Our medical malpractice lawyers can also assist you in filing a medical malpractice lawsuit if your loved one has passed away due to a provider’s negligence. Wrongful death typically involves a civil lawsuit, such a medical malpractice case, in which damages are sought against a party for causing death.
The experienced lawyers at Baird Mandalas Brockstedt & Federico can answer questions and concerns you may have regarding a potential wrongful death claim.
How Do You Prove Medical Negligence?
How do you prove medical negligence? Proving medical negligence is a completed and time consuming process. However, our team of lawyers is here to fight for you every step of the way. Four main elements are needed to demonstrate medical negligence. These elements are duty, breach, causation, and damages.
Health care providers, including physicians, owe their patients a duty to practice in accordance with the standards of care.
The standard of care for a health care provider, pursuant to Maryland law, is the degree of care and skill that would be used by a reasonably competent health care provider engaged in a similar practice and acting in similar circumstances. Typically, it is easy to show that a doctor owed a duty of care to you. You can often prove this by showing you were a patient who came in seeking treatment. One way to show a duty was present would be demonstrating that you made an appointment with your provider.
Another part of proving a medical negligence case, a plaintiff must establish what the standard of care required at the time the medical care was provided and that the health care provider breached the standard of care. A breach means that your doctor or other healthcare worker failed to meet the appropriate standard of care toward you. An illustration of a breach may be if a surgeon leaves a tool inside the patient’s body after an operation. Another example might be if they prescribe the patient the wrong dosage of medication.
In addition to establishing what the standard of care required and that the health care provider breached the standard of care, a plaintiff must also establish that this breach caused the injury claimed.
Causation essentially means that, but for the breach of the duty by the provider, the injury would not have happened. One example is the following: Since the surgeon filed to remove a sponge from your body, you experienced an infection that you would not have otherwise.
Economic and Non-economic damages are the two main categories of damages in medical malpractice cases. Damages are the last and final element needed when bringing a claim for medical negligence. This means that it is not enough for the healthcare provider to have provided substandard care; you must have also been harmed by their negligence.
Economic damages include the medical and other expenses reasonably incurred in the past and with reasonable probability may be expected in the future. Economic damages are calculated using information like medical bills and the amount of time you were unable to work due to the healthcare provider’s negligence.
Economic damages can also include both past and future loss of earnings.
Non-economic damages, also known as non-pecuniary damages, are more subjective.
Non-economic damages include the effect such injuries have on the overall physical and mental health and well being of the plaintiff.
Other examples of non-economic damages include physical pain and suffering, loss of consortium, inconvenience and physical impairment.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Bringing My Claim?
When filing a medical malpractice lawsuit in Maryland, one must be aware of the applicable statute of limitations.
The statute of limitations is a law that sets the maximum time in which a party or parties may initiate legal proceedings.
Pursuant to section 5-109 Of the Courts and Judicial Proceedings article of the Maryland Code, an action for damages for an injury arising out of the rendering or failure to render professional services by a health care provider shall be filed within the earlier of five years of the time the injury was committed or three years of the date the injury was discovered.
The statute for minors and mentally incompetent individuals may differ.
If you have a question about the statute of limitations for a potential medical malpractice case, please call the lawyers at Baird Mandalas Brockstedt & Federico today.
We can help you determine if there is still time to file a medical malpractice case.
How Our Team of Medical Malpractice Attorneys Can Help You
At Baird Mandalas Brockstedt & Federico, we have successfully handled hundreds of medical malpractice cases.
Contact us today for more information on how we can assist you. Our approachable, experienced and compassionate lawyers are ready to aid you in filing your medical malpractice claim.
Call us today at 410-421-7777 for a free consultation.