When you seek treatment from a doctor or other healthcare provider, you expect them to provide competent care to help you manage or cure your condition.

Unfortunately, some patients do not receive that level of care and experience additional injuries or a worsened condition as a result.

When a healthcare professional’s negligence causes the patient to suffer harm in Dundalk, Maryland, they may be entitled to seek damages through a medical malpractice claim.

To speak to an experienced medical malpractice lawyer in Dundalk, please contact us today.

What Is Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare professional, such as a doctor, nurse, or hospital, deviates from an accepted standard of care, resulting in harm or injury to a patient.

To establish a successful medical malpractice claim in Maryland, a plaintiff must prove the elements of the claim based on the legal theory of negligence.

  • Duty of Care. Healthcare providers owe a duty of care to their patients. This duty requires them to provide treatment that aligns with the accepted standard of care within their practice field. 
  • Breach of Duty. When the healthcare provider fails to meet the standard of care expected in a similar situation.
  • Causation. The plaintiff must show that the breach of duty directly caused the patient’s injury or harm.
  • Damages. Finally, a plaintiff must show that the provider’s negligence resulted in harm. These damages may include physical pain, emotional distress, medical expenses, lost wages, disability, and other related losses.

Maryland medical practice claims are complicated. Proving these elements requires expert testimony from medical professionals and other evidence.

If you believe you have suffered medical malpractice, seek the assistance of a lawyer in Dundalk with experience in the field.

Maryland Medical Malpractice Damages

When a patient becomes a victim of medical malpractice in Maryland, they may be entitled to various types of compensation or damages.

These damages fall under three categories: economic damages, non-economic damages, and punitive damages.

Economic Damages 

These damages aim to compensate the victim for financial losses directly associated with the malpractice. They often include medical expenses incurred due to additional treatment, surgeries, medications, rehabilitation, and other healthcare-related costs resulting from the malpractice.

Additionally, economic damages can cover lost wages or diminished earning capacity if the injuries prevent the patient from working.

Non-economic Damages

Unlike economic damages, non-economic damages address intangible losses that are not as easily quantifiable.

These include pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, mental anguish, and the overall decline in the quality of life experienced by the victim due to the malpractice.

Proving non-economic damages typically involves illustrating the physical and emotional toll the malpractice has taken on the patient’s life.

Punitive Damages 

In rare cases where the healthcare provider’s actions are deemed extremely reckless, intentional, or malicious, Maryland law allows for punitive damages.

These damages go beyond compensating the victim and are intended to punish the defendant and deter similar behavior in the future.

However, punitive damages require a higher burden of proof, showing egregious misconduct or a conscious disregard for the patient’s well-being, and are rarely awarded. 

Special Considerations in Maryland Medical Malpractice Claims

In Maryland, medical malpractice claims are subject to specific requirements and limitations that plaintiffs must adhere to in order to successfully file a claim. 

  • Certificate of Merit. Under Maryland law, a plaintiff must file what is known as a certificate of merit within 90 days of filing a complaint. This certificate contains a statement from a qualified medical expert that you were a victim of medical malpractice. This expert must have clinical experience in the relevant field and professional experience in the same field within 5 years of the incident.
  • Arbitration. Maryland law also states that claims must go through arbitration before they can file a court case. Arbitration is a process where a third party meets with the parties to attempt to come to a resolution of the complaint. However, the law also allows either side to waive arbitration at any time after providing a statement from a qualified expert.
  • Limits on Non-economic Damages. Unlike other negligence claims, Maryland imposes a damages cap on non-economic harms, which varies based on the year the incident occurred. In 2023, the non-economic damages cap for Maryland medical malpractice cases arising in 2023 is $875,000. In 2024, this number increases to $890,000.00.
  • Statute of Limitations. This is the period a plaintiff has to file a claim. Generally, a Maryland medical malpractice lawsuit must be initiated within five years from the date the malpractice occurred or within three years from the date the injury was discovered, whichever comes first.
  • Discovery Rule. This allows the statute of limitations to begin from the date the injury or malpractice was discovered or reasonably should have been discovered, rather than from the date of the actual malpractice. Some injuries or instances of malpractice may not be immediately evident, and patients might discover the harm caused by the malpractice after the fact. However, even with the discovery rule, there is a hard limit of five years from the date of the malpractice, regardless of when it was discovered.

Knowing and complying with these specific requirements and restrictions is crucial for plaintiffs seeking to pursue a medical malpractice claim in Maryland.

Failure to meet these requirements could mean potential plaintiffs are barred from seeking compensation, so seek the advice of an experienced attorney as soon as possible.

Common Forms of Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice can take various forms, each potentially causing serious harm or injury to patients. Some common types of medical malpractice include the following.

  • Misdiagnosis or Delayed Diagnosis. Occurs when a healthcare provider fails to accurately diagnose a condition or disease promptly, leading to incorrect or delayed treatment.
  • Surgical Errors. Encompass a range of mistakes made during surgery, such as operating on the wrong body part, leaving surgical instruments inside the patient, or performing unnecessary procedures.
  • Medication Errors. Includes administering the wrong medication, incorrect dosage, or failure to consider a patient’s allergies or interactions with other drugs. 
  • Birth Injuries. Can harm the baby or mother, and may include issues like cerebral palsy, brachial plexus injuries, premature delivery, or oxygen deprivation leading to brain damage.
  • Failure to Obtain Informed Consent. When a healthcare provider fails to properly inform the patient about the risks, benefits, and alternatives of a medical procedure or treatment, and the patient undergoes the procedure without understanding the potential consequences.
  • Failure to Follow-Up or Provide Adequate Aftercare. Healthcare providers have a responsibility to monitor and follow up on a patient’s condition after treatment. Failure to do so can result in complications.

These types of medical malpractice can have devastating effects on patients, leading to physical and emotional trauma, prolonged recovery periods, additional medical expenses, and in severe cases, permanent disability or even death.

Patients who suspect they have been victims of medical malpractice should seek legal advice to explore their options.

Trust the ​​Medical Malpractice Team at Baird Mandalas Brockstedt & Federico

If you believe you are the victim of negligent healthcare professionals in Dundalk, Maryland, and don’t know where to turn, the attorneys at Baird Mandalas Brockstedt & Federico are here to help.

Our team of medical malpractice lawyers have decades of experience representing clients in Maryland medical malpractice claims and will be your advocate and champion throughout an often complicated and stressful process.

With hundreds of millions of dollars earned on behalf of our clients, we are leaders in the field of medical malpractice litigation. To schedule a consultation to discuss your case, call our office or fill out our online contact form to get started today.