Identifying who is responsible when a medical malpractice claim arises can be challenging.
Many victims don’t know whether to sue the individual doctor or hospital for their injuries. They also might not know where to begin when they attempt to file a lawsuit.
Contact Baird Mandalas Brockstedt & Federico if you have questions about a medical malpractice claim.
Our Maryland medical malpractice attorneys know how to sue a hospital and can guide you.
The Basics of Medical Malpractice in Maryland
Patients trust medical professionals to help them feel better. But in some cases, doctors and nurses act negligently and can cause more harm than good.
Patients can file a lawsuit to hold these professionals accountable when this happens.
A plaintiff in a medical malpractice claim must:
- Establish a duty of care,
- Prove a breach of that duty, and
- Demonstrate that the breach caused the plaintiff’s injuries.
Under Maryland law, a victim can file a lawsuit to recover compensation for injuries due to the provider’s malpractice.
How Can a Hospital Be Liable?
The general rule is that an employer is responsible for the actions of its employees. If a hospital employee commits malpractice, you can sue the hospital. This rule applies to all medical employees, not just doctors.
Many hospitals try to avoid liability by hiring doctors as independent contractors. Hospitals force victims to file lawsuits against doctors instead of the hospital by doing this.
However, independent contracts can still be agents of the hospital. You might be able to sue a hospital for malpractice, even if it claims staff are independent contractors.
How to Sue a Hospital for Malpractice
Medical malpractice cases are often complex and take a long time to resolve. Following these steps can help the process be as smooth and fast as possible.
Speak with an Attorney
It’s best to contact an attorney as soon as possible to find out how to sue a hospital for negligence. They can help determine if a hospital committed malpractice, identify liable parties, and file a lawsuit.
Your attorney will also know what type of evidence will support your claim and how to calculate your damages.
Gathering compelling evidence can help you build a strong medical malpractice claim. It will determine if you win and how much compensation you can receive. Typical evidence in medical malpractice cases includes:
- Medical records,
- Expert opinions,
- Eyewitness accounts,
- Photos and videos,
- Communication records, and
- Out-of-pocket expenses.
Some of this evidence may be difficult to obtain, especially if it belongs to the hospital. If this happens, your attorney can request it through legal requests during the lawsuit.
Meet with an Expert
Maryland statute requires plaintiffs to work with an expert when filing a medical malpractice claim. This expert must give the court a statement supporting your claim that the provider failed to meet their standard of care.
After filing your claim, you have 90 days to submit this statement, but it’s best to work with an expert beforehand.
Your attorney will identify and work with an expert in the appropriate field of medicine to meet this requirement.
The expert’s opinion might help you find new evidence and build a stronger case.
File with the Health Care Alternative Dispute Resolution Office
Anyone filing a medical malpractice must submit it to the Health Care Alternative Dispute Resolution Office (HCADRO) for arbitration.
This is an administrative agency that conducts arbitration to resolve these disputes outside of court. However, you can waive arbitration through this process and take your claim to a local court.
File the Lawsuit
If you waive arbitration, your attorney can file a formal lawsuit against the hospital. A lawsuit creates several legal obligations for the hospital and can help you access more evidence.
It can also give you access to a jury willing to award you more compensation than you would get through arbitration.
How Much Compensation Can You Receive for Medical Malpractice?
You can recover compensation for economic and non-economic damages through a court decision or settlement. While compensation can’t fix all your injuries, it can provide much-needed support while you recover.
These damages are quantifiable, specific losses you incur due to the hospital’s medical malpractice. Examples of economic damages include:
- Medical expenses—costs for healthcare services, treatments, medications, and other related expenses incurred by an individual due to injuries or illnesses;
- Future medical costs—anticipated expenses for ongoing or future healthcare needs and treatments;
- Rehabilitation costs—expenses for therapeutic treatments, physical therapy, and other interventions to restore functionality.
- Lost wages—income you cannot earn due to your injuries because of missed work or reduced earning capacity.
There is no limit on the amount of economic damages you can recover.
These damages are for unquantifiable injuries and expenses due to the malpractice. Examples of non-economic damages include:
- Pain and suffering—addresses the discomfort and anguish of your injury or illness;
- Emotional distress—assists with the psychological impact caused by the malpractice;
- Disfigurement—an injury can cause permanent scarring and other changes to your body that cause physical and emotional harm;
Maryland has a statutory cap on non-economic damages. The general cap for 2023 is $935,000.00 and will increase by $15,000 annually.
How Long Do You Have to File a Medical Malpractice Claim in Maryland?
Medical malpractice injuries can take a while to appear. Sometimes, a victim might not learn of an injury until years later. Fortunately, Maryland has a five-year statute of limitations.
Under this law, you must file a claim within five years from the date of your injury or three years after learning of the injury.
There is an exception to this rule if the victim is under 18 years old at the time of the injury. They have until their 21st birthday to file a medical malpractice claim.
Schedule a Case Evaluation Today with an Experienced Medical Malpractice Lawyer
Call Baird Mandalas Brockstedt & Federico for assistance with your medical malpractice claim. Our lawyers will review your case and explain how to sue a hospital to get you compensation.
We have decades of experience litigating medical malpractice claims and have helped clients get multimillion-dollar settlements during this time.
Call our office to schedule a consultation with an attorney.