If you or someone you love was injured by medical negligence in Maryland, you undoubtedly feel anxious, overwhelmed, and confused. The law for medical negligence and all that it entails is complex.
In this article, we will discuss medical malpractice, offer some examples, and take a closer look at a med mal lawsuit.
Medical Tort Definition
What is medical malpractice, and do I have a claim? Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor or other healthcare provider, through a negligent action or omission, causes injury to their patient.
Legally, a medical tort or medical negligence is a cause of action in a civil lawsuit filed by an injured patient against the negligent healthcare provider. In other words, a medical malpractice lawsuit holds the doctor or other healthcare professional liable for injuries caused by their negligent conduct.
To have a valid legal claim, the physician must have deviated from the accepted standards of medical practice. We can help you determine if you have a med mal case.
Types of Medical Malpractice Cases Our Lawyers Handle
At Baird Mandalas Brockstedt & Federico, LLC, we have dedicated much of our practice to medical malpractice. Below are several types of med mal cases our Maryland medical malpractice attorneys can help you with. Remember that this list is not exhaustive, so contact us for a case evaluation if you were injured in another manner.
Obstetrical and Delivery Mistakes: Negligent conduct, including unsafe delivery techniques, delayed diagnosis and treatment, and lack of prenatal testing and monitoring, can lead to significant injury.
Emergency Room: Emergency rooms are often understaffed, and physicians, nurses, and other medical staff can be overworked or pushed to see more patients in less time. Examples of ER malpractice can include:
- Medication mistakes,
- Charting errors,
- Inadequate patient monitoring, and
- Incorrect diagnoses.
An error in the ER can quickly snowball into severe long-term injury.
Surgical Errors: Surgical patients are some of the most vulnerable and prone to severe medical malpractice injuries, including wrong-site errors, post-op infections, inserting a defective or recalled device, and other significant surgical errors.
Medication Errors: Sadly, medication errors are all too common and can be just as serious as other medical errors. If a provider prescribes the wrong medication, gives the wrong dose, administers the incorrect medication, or fails to document adverse effects and reactions, it can have catastrophic consequences for the patient.
Medical lawsuits seeking compensation for an injury at the hands of a doctor or medical provider are some of the most challenging. Let our experienced and knowledgeable lawyers assist you.
Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice in Maryland
A statute of limitations refers to the timeframe in which you have to bring legal action. They exist in all types of cases and can vary among states and types of cases.
In Maryland, you typically have three years from the date the damage was discovered, or five years from the date your injury occurred, whichever is earlier. You might ask why there are different time frames, and the answer is that medical malpractice injuries are not always immediately apparent.
Like most statutes of limitations, there are exceptions to the rule. For instance, if a child is a victim of medical negligence, they may have more time to file a civil lawsuit.
Under Maryland law, if a plaintiff is younger than 18 years old at the time of the injury, the statute of limitations begins to run once they reach the age of 18. In other words, if a medical error injures a 9-year-old child, they may still have until 21 to file a claim.
No matter when the clock starts ticking, you may lose the opportunity to seek compensation altogether if you miss that window. Time can go by quickly, especially when dealing with significant injuries and medical treatment.
If you undergo an operation or are otherwise treated by a medical professional and come out of it with a nagging suspicion that something is not quite right and the doctor made a mistake, do not ignore this intuition. Contact our experienced med mal team to review your case.
Who Can Be Held Liable for Medical Malpractice?
Doctors usually come to mind when we think of malpractice, but medical malpractice extends far beyond just physicians. Doctors are not the only potentially liable parties in a medical malpractice suit. It may be another medical professional altogether or several simultaneously.
Any healthcare provider who owed you a duty of care and breached that duty can be liable for your injury and harm. Potentially liable defendants in your medical malpractice lawsuit might include:
- Pharmacists, and
- Outpatient medical facilities.
A seasoned lawyer will help you investigate all potentially liable parties.
Maryland Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
If you are the victim of a medical error, the first step on the road to financial recovery is to consult a legal expert.
While you are not required to hire an attorney to pursue a medical malpractice claim, we highly recommend it. Medical malpractice lawsuits can be challenging, requiring significant discovery, experts, and more.
Once you meet with an attorney, they may file a demand letter explaining the basis for the claim and requesting compensation. Sometimes claims settle here, but most often, they will proceed to litigation.
In Maryland, most claims must first be filed before the Health Care Alternative Dispute Resolution Office before the filing of a Complaint in Circuit Court. Most often, those claims will be waived out of the Health Care Alternative Dispute Resolution Office, and then proceed to Circuit Court.
The discovery phase will begin once the Complaint is filed in Circuit Court, and the defendant files an answer. The discovery phase can be long and complex, involving written discovery, depositions, and more.
There may be continued settlement negotiations throughout this process to see if the parties can agree to a resolution. A case can settle anytime, early on or on the eve of trial. Most cases settle at some point and do not proceed to trial. However, some cases do reach a jury.
Certificate of Qualified Expert Requirement
Unlike in other personal injury cases, Maryland requires the plaintiff to obtain a certificate from a qualified medical expert illustrating a reasonable basis for the claim. Specifically, the medical expert must swear under oath that they reviewed your claim and believes both of the following:
- The defendant did not meet the accepted medical standard of care when treating or diagnosing you and
- This failure was the cause of your injuries.
Maryland law requires this certificate to be filed within 90 days of the filing of a claim in the Health Care Alternative Dispute Resolution Office. Failure to do so could jeopardize your case and risk it being dismissed.
Medical Negligence Law Firm
At Baird Mandalas Brockstedt & Federico, we take every case seriously and will fight vigorously to get you the compensation you deserve for your injury. We understand how devastating it can be when you are injured by a doctor you trusted your life with.
Contact us to schedule a time convenient for you to discuss your options.