Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare professional’s negligence causes a patient harm. Although many people may assume this only applies to doctors, this is not the case.

Under Maryland law, a wide range of facilities and workers can be held liable for medical malpractice, including lab technicians, nursing home staff, and nurses.

Nurses are often the first line of defense when it comes to preserving health and saving lives, and often spend more time with patients than doctors do.

Because of this, nurses need to provide a competent level of care, and failing to do so could result in a medical malpractice claim. Here is a short guide to malpractice in nursing and how the nursing malpractice lawyers at Baird Mandalas Brockstedt & Federico can help.

If you have any questions, please contact us today.

What is Nursing Malpractice?

Nursing malpractice refers to a nurse’s breach of the duty of care that results in harm or injury to a patient. Like all medical malpractice claims, a nursing malpractice case is based on the legal theory of negligence, which has the following elements:

  • Duty. Nurses have a duty to provide competent and appropriate care to their patients based on established standards, protocols, and the individual patient’s needs.
  • Breach of duty. Negligence occurs when a nurse fails to meet the standard of care expected in a given situation. This breach could manifest as errors in medication administration, inadequate monitoring, ignoring patient complaints, or failing to follow established protocols.
  • Causation. The breach of duty must directly cause or contribute to the patient’s injury or harm. It’s crucial to establish a clear connection between the nurse’s actions or inactions and the resulting adverse outcome.
  • Damages. To successfully recover compensation, patients must have suffered measurable harm or damages as a direct result of the nurse’s negligence. 

If a patient is injured or suffers a worsened medical condition as a result of a nurse’s failure to provide competent care, it may be time to contact experienced nursing malpractice lawyers to determine their next steps.

What Does Nursing Malpractice Look Like?

Nurses have a wide range of duties and responsibilities, and thus malpractice can take many forms. Any deviation from an acceptable standard of care can result in a claim, but there are a few scenarios where malpractice is more likely to occur.

  • Medication errors. This may include administering incorrect dosages or the wrong medication or failing to adhere to the prescribed administration schedule, leading to adverse reactions or a worsened health outcome.
  • Failure to monitor patient. Inadequate monitoring of a patient’s condition, including vital signs or response to treatment, can result in delayed intervention or missed warning signs of serious or deteriorating health.
  • Documentation errors. Inaccurate or incomplete documentation of patient information, including medication records, vital signs, or changes in condition, can lead to misunderstandings or inappropriate care decisions by subsequent healthcare providers.
  • Ignoring patient needs. Disregarding patient complaints, concerns, or requests for assistance can lead to inadequate care and potential harm.

Although these are some of the common forms nursing malpractice can take, there are other ways a nurse can deviate from an acceptable standard of care and cause harm to patients.

Proper training, adherence to protocols, and thorough documentation are essential to mitigate risks and ensure patient safety.

Examples of Malpractice in Nursing

Here are some specific examples where a patient might experience nursing malpractice.

  • Given the wrong medication. Nurse A administers medication to a patient without checking their identification bracelet or verifying the prescription first. As a result, the patient receives medication intended for another patient with a similar name, leading to an adverse reaction that requires follow-up care. 
  • Failure to monitor. Nurse B is responsible for monitoring a patient post-surgery. They fail to track the patient’s vital signs and miss signs of internal bleeding. The delayed intervention causes the patient to need additional surgery and suffer complications they otherwise would not have experienced.
  • Patient Assessment Failure. Nurse C sees a man in the Emergency Room who is complaining of chest pain. The nurse rushes the assessment and misses signs of a possible cardiac event. After discharging the man, he suffers a major heart attack.

Each of these specific examples illustrates instances where nursing malpractice can occur, emphasizing the critical role of attentiveness, adherence to protocols, and attention to detail in patient care to prevent such errors.

Challenges and Complexities in Maryland Medical Malpractice Cases

Simply put, medical malpractice cases are complicated. They require the skill of an attorney with experience in the field and knowledge of the various complexities of Maryland medical malpractice law. Here are a few things to keep in mind before filing any claims.


Comprehensive evidence is vital to ensuring a successful outcome in a medical malpractice case. This includes obtaining extensive medical records, witness statements, and expert opinions. An experienced attorney can help you gather the right evidence in a timely manner.

Statute of Limitations

Maryland has specific time limits within which a nursing malpractice lawsuit must be filed, known as a statute of limitations. In Maryland, a victim of medical malpractice is required to file within five years of the date of the injury or three years of discovery of the injury, whichever comes first.

Like other states, Maryland allows for the discovery rule, meaning the statute of limitations may begin when the malpractice is discovered, not necessarily when it occurred.

However, understanding and applying this rule can be complicated, so seeking the advice of an attorney to help determine when your deadlines are is highly recommended.

Insurance Companies and Healthcare Institutions

Most medical providers carry malpractice insurance to help protect themselves should negligence occur, but dealing with insurance adjusters or legal representatives of healthcare institutions can be challenging.

They might attempt to settle claims quickly or offer inadequate compensation, making it crucial to navigate negotiations effectively. In addition, healthcare institutions often have more resources to defend against malpractice claims.

This can make it challenging for individuals to pursue legal action without the help of an experienced medical malpractice lawyer to help them navigate the process.

Additional Medical Malpractice Requirements

Like many other states, Maryland imposes extra requirements on plaintiffs filing medical malpractice lawsuits. First, the state requires victims to file their claims in Maryland Health Claims Arbitration, along with a certificate of merit from a qualified medical expert, within 90 days of filing the complaint.

Plaintiffs may waive mandatory arbitration by filing an arbitration waiver, but they must still submit a certificate of merit. Understanding what the various additional filing requirements are and their deadlines is difficult and often requires an experienced expert to navigate the process properly.

Trust the Nursing Malpractice Lawyers at Baird Mandalas Brockstedt & Federico

Have you or a loved one been the victim of negligent nursing care that resulted in injuries? Dealing with the aftermath can be overwhelming and stressful, but you don’t have to face it alone.

At Baird Mandalas Brockstedt & Federico, we have decades of experience and are leaders in medical malpractice litigation.

We understand the frustration that comes from dealing with an insurance company, medical professional, or another party that refuses to accept liability for negligent behavior and will fight for the best outcome on your behalf.

With hundreds of millions of dollars obtained on behalf of our clients, we back up our reputation with a proven track record of successful outcomes.

To schedule a consultation, give us a call or fill out our online contact form to get started.