Breaking a bone, dislocating a knee, or injuring your back can be difficult when facing an inability to work or participate in daily activities. It can be especially devastating when you entrust your care and treatment to a doctor, only for them to provide negligent care.

The complications and worsening of the injury, along with any new injuries or pain, can be crippling. Orthopedic malpractice happens, and if you or a loved one are the victims, having a fierce advocate on your side can be the difference in significant compensation for the harm you endured.

Our orthopedic malpractice attorneys are available anytime convenient to you to discuss your legal options! Contact us today to get started.

What Is Orthopedic Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice happens when a medical professional negligently injures a patient. It is a cause of action for a lawsuit filed by an injured plaintiff against their medical provider.

Medical malpractice is often based on negligent action, but it can also be an omission or failure to act that is the basis for the malpractice claim. The doctor or other healthcare provider must have deviated from the accepted standards of medical practice. 

Orthopedic Medical Malpractice

Orthopedic medical malpractice is negligence that occurs during orthopedic procedures for correcting deformities of bones or muscles, often during an orthopedic surgery. 

Orthopedic surgeon malpractice happens under a variety of circumstances, including:

  • Missed, delayed, or incorrect diagnosis;
  • Incorrect treatment of a fracture;
  • Inserting defective or recalled medical devices,
  • Misinterpretation of diagnostic imaging such as MRIs, CT scans, and X-rays;
  • Improperly setting or misaligning a broken bone;
  • Wrong-site surgery (i.e., operating on the wrong body part or the wrong side);
  • Failing to diagnose post-surgical complications and infections;
  • Failing to recognize an adverse reaction;
  • Leaving surgical instruments inside the patient and
  • Other significant surgical errors.

Whether you undoubtedly know malpractice occurred or have a nagging suspicion that something is not right, you should seek immediate medical attention. 

Possible Causes of Orthopedic Injuries

Orthopedic healthcare involves correcting any injury or disease to the body’s bones, muscles, joints, and tendons. There can be infinite causes of orthopedic injuries, including:

  • Motor vehicle accidents,
  • Slip and falls
  • Construction accidents,
  • Exercise,
  • Contact sports trauma, and
  • Physical violence. 

Orthopedic injuries can be sudden, immediate, and severe, like a compound fracture, or they can manifest over time, like a hairline fracture or soft tissue injury. A person’s pre-existing medical condition can increase the risk of injury and the risk of complications during treatment and recovery. 

While many common orthopedic injuries are caused by everyday life and activities and are usually the result of a mere accident, when you entrust a doctor to correct those injuries, and they negligently do so, you may have a valid malpractice claim. 

Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice in Maryland

In general, a statute of limitations is the timeframe in which you have to initiate a legal action and exists in every type of case, from small claims to malpractice and criminal cases. 

In Maryland, for medical malpractice cases, the statute of limitations is as follows:

  • Three years from the date the injury was discovered or reasonably should have been discovered, or
  • Five years from the date your injury occurred, whichever is earlier. 

The variation is because medical malpractice injuries are not always apparent. It can sometimes take days, months, or even years to discover the injury and make the connection to the orthopedic care you previously received. 

Exceptions Might Apply

Most statutes of limitations carry exceptions to the general rule, and statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases is no different. One common exception applies to minor children. If a child is the victim of medical malpractice, they may have more time to initiate a case. 

Under Maryland law, if a medical malpractice victim is younger than 18 years old at the time of the injury, the statute of limitations begins to run once they reach 18. 

For instance, if a 10-year-old child is the victim of medical negligence, they may still have until their 21st birthday to file a lawsuit. 

No matter the applicable statute of limitations, if you miss that deadline, you may lose the right to seek compensation altogether.

We strongly encourage anyone who suspects they are the victim of medical negligence to consult with an experienced medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible.

It is easy to lose track of time when in the throes of recovering from orthopedic medical negligence.  If you think a doctor made a mistake, seek legal advice while the events are recent and fresh in everyone’s recollection. 

Contact our expert medical team to discuss your case. 

Who Can Be Held Liable for Orthopedic Medical Malpractice?

While the doctor will be the subject of most orthopedic medical malpractice claims, other healthcare professionals can be named defendants in the lawsuit. There can also be multiple defendants who are partially liable for your injuries. 

Any medical provider who owed you a duty of care and failed to uphold that duty can be liable for the injury you suffered. Potentially responsible parties might include: 

  • Physicians,
  • Nurses,
  • Anesthesiologists,
  • Hospitals,
  • Technicians,
  • Therapists,
  • Chiropractors,
  • Laboratories,
  • Surgical centers,
  • Wound care providers,
  • Pharmacists, and 
  • Outpatient medical facilities.

Our seasoned malpractice attorneys can help you determine all possibly liable parties. 

Proving the Injury Was a Result of Medical Malpractice

It is not enough to say you underwent orthopedic surgery or another treatment and ended up with an exacerbated injury, new injury, or other complication as a result.  

You must prove that the negligent care proximately caused your injuries to be successful in court. For a successful medical malpractice lawsuit, the injured plaintiff must prove:

  • A doctor-patient relationship exists,
  • The doctor negligent deviated from the accepted standard of medical care,
  • The doctor’s negligence directly caused the injury and harm,
  • As a result of the injury, you suffered financial damages.

In court, the plaintiff has the burden of proving the orthopedic doctor’s actions breached the standard of care in that field of medicine and under similar circumstances.

A complication or error during surgery is not always a medical malpractice claim. Determining if negligence occurred and how to seek compensation from the appropriate individuals can be complex.

It often requires a lengthy investigation to identify potentially liable parties and to make the causal connection between the doctor’s actions and your injuries. Some orthopedic malpractice claims will be straightforward, while others can be convoluted.

For instance, a case of a surgeon leaving behind an instrument in a patient during surgery may be a bit easier to prove than a case of a misplaced screw. It is best to consult an experienced orthopedic malpractice lawyer.

Certificate of Qualified Expert Requirement

Under Maryland law, the plaintiff must obtain a certificate from a qualified medical expert demonstrating a reasonable basis for the claim in medical malpractice cases. The expert must attest under oath that they reviewed the claim and believe the following to be true:

  • The defendant did not meet the accepted medical standard of care when treating or diagnosing the plaintiff, and
  • That failure caused injuries and harm.

The certificate must be submitted within 90 days of filing a claim in the Health Care Alternative Dispute Resolution Office. Failure to do so could risk your case being dismissed. 

Your lawyer will assist you with locating an expert, obtaining the certificate, and filing it. 

Maryland Orthopedic Malpractice Attorneys 

At Baird Mandalas Brockstedt & Federico, our experienced medical team can handle even the most complex orthopedic malpractice claims.

One of our most impactful and successful cases involved a $14.5 million award for a young victim of hospital negligence.

Contact us today for a compassionate, no-cost consultation with an experienced attorney.