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Understanding Medical Malpractice Claims in Maryland

Understanding Medical Malpractice Claims in Maryland

Patients or their loved ones may suspect they have been a victim of medical malpractice. According to a poll conducted by the National Patient Safety Foundation, 42% of patients say they have been the victim of a misdiagnosis or other medical error. However, contrary to what they may believe, medical malpractice is not a single, readily-categorized term. There are numerous distinct ways that medical negligence can happen.

At Maryland Injury Guys, our team of medical malpractice lawyers is dedicated to helping injured patients and their families receive compensation for their injuries and losses. Our law firm has handled medical malpractice claims across Maryland for decades. We understand the importance of obtaining the compensation you need and the value of having a knowledgeable and experienced medical malpractice attorney by your side.

Local hospitals that offer care for injuries:

How Is Medical Malpractice Defined in Maryland?

Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor or health care provider fails to provide adequate medical treatment to his patient. This may include failure to diagnose, improper diagnosis, failure to treat, failure to prescribe proper medication, and/or negligence.

In order to prove medical malpractice, a plaintiff must establish three elements: duty, breach of duty, and proximate cause. Duty refers to whether the defendant owed any legal obligation to the plaintiff. Breach of duty means that the defendant failed to comply with the standard of care required under the circumstances. Proximate cause means that the defendant’s actions were responsible for causing the injury suffered by the plaintiff.

There are two types of medical malpractice cases: direct and vicarious liability. Direct liability involves situations where the physician has personally committed an act of wrongdoing. Vicarious liability arises when the physician is acting within the scope of employment and commits wrongful acts against patients.

  • Direct liability claims are usually brought by the injured party directly against the negligent physician. However, vicarious liability claims are often brought by the injured party against the hospital or clinic that employed the physician.
  • Vicarious liability claims are generally easier to win than direct liability claims. If the physician was acting within the scope of his employment, he is considered to be acting on behalf of the employer. Therefore, the employer is liable for the physician’s conduct.

How Common is Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice is the third leading cause of death in the United States. According to the Institute of Medicine, between 44,000 and 98,000 people die each year in the United States because of medical errors.

In fact, according to one study, nearly half of physicians admit to committing medical errors at least once during their careers. According to a paper in the Journal of the American Medical Association, up to 284,000 deaths could be caused directly by doctor negligence each year. The number of deaths caused by medical error is divided as follows:

  • Negative effects of medications prescribed – 106,000 deaths
  • Infections occurring during a hospital stay – 80,000 deaths
  • Non-medical errors made within hospitals – 20,000 deaths
  • Medical errors made within hospitals – 7,000 deaths
  • Unnecessary surgeries – 2,000 deaths

What are the Most Common Types of Medical Malpractice?

As such, medical malpractice lawsuits are filed against physicians and hospitals when patients suffer harm due to negligent acts committed by healthcare providers.

There are two types of medical malpractice cases:

  • Negligence claims
  • Breach of contract claims

Negligence claims arise when a patient suffers harm due to a physician’s failure to perform according to accepted medical practices. For example, if a surgeon negligently removes a wrong organ instead of another one, he has failed to live up to his professional standard.

Breach of contract claims occur when a patient suffers harm as a result of a hospital’s or physician’s failure or refusal to abide by its contractual obligations. For instance, if a patient contracts hepatitis C after receiving contaminated blood products from a hospital, she would file a breach of contract claim against the hospital.

In most cases, these injuries result in pain, suffering, lost wages, and emotional distress. If you believe that you were harmed by a doctor’s negligent actions, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages.

Here are some of the most common types of medical malpractice claims:

  • Failure to Diagnose
  • Failure to Treat
  • Wrongful Birth/Wrongful Life
  • Negligence in Prescribing Medications
  • Negligence During Surgery
  • Negligence Due to Defective Products

What are Maryland Medical Malpractice Laws?

Medical malpractice laws vary greatly across the country. Some states don't allow medical malpractice lawsuits at all. Others limit the amount of damages that can be awarded in such cases.

Maryland has one of the most comprehensive medical malpractice laws in the nation. If you believe you were harmed due to negligence or misconduct by a doctor or hospital employee, you may be entitled to compensation under Maryland law.

What Are the Requirements for Filing a Medical Malpractice Claim in Maryland?

In order to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against a health care provider in Maryland, you must first file an administrative claim with the state's Health Care Alternative Dispute Resolution Office. This office handles claims filed by patients against hospitals, doctors, nurses, and other health care providers.

After filing an administrative claim, you may sue the defendant in court within two years. There may be exceptions to this rule that can be discussed with a medical malpractice attorney.

Maryland medical malpractice laws apply to any injury caused by negligent conduct committed by a physician, nurse, dentist, podiatrist, pharmacist, or other licensed health care professional. They also cover injuries resulting from the failure of a hospital to provide adequate treatment.

Proving each element of a medical malpractice claim is difficult. To win a case, you must show that the health care provider failed to exercise reasonable care and skill in treating the patient.

To prevail in a medical malpractice case, you must also show that the alleged negligence resulted in damage to the plaintiff. For example, if you had surgery to remove a tumor, and the surgeon left behind a piece of tissue, you would still have to prove that the remaining tissue caused problems later on.

What Are Maryland's Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations?

Medical malpractice claims often arise after an injury occurs. If you believe that you were injured due to medical negligence, you may wish to file a claim against the negligent party. However, you may find yourself wondering whether you have legal recourse under state law.

In Maryland, medical malpractice statutes of limitations vary depending upon the nature of the alleged wrongdoing. For example, if you suffer injuries caused by a doctor’s failure to diagnose or treat a condition properly, you may have three years from the date of the incident to file a lawsuit. On the other hand, if you suffered harm as a result of a doctor’s improper prescription of medication, you may have two years from the date of injury to bring a claim.

Thus, if you suspect that you were harmed by medical negligence, you should consult with an attorney about filing a claim right away. An experienced lawyer can advise you regarding the applicable statute of limitations and what steps you should take to preserve your right to sue.

Is There a Cap on Medical Malpractice Damages in MD?

The average settlement for a medical malpractice claim from 2009 to 2018 was roughly $309,908 according to NPDB data.

Damages recovered in a lawsuit are intended to repay the victim for the losses they suffered due to medical malpractice. In Maryland, similar to other states, there are two main types of damages that may be recovered in a medical malpractice lawsuit. These are economic and non-economic damages.

  • Economic damages are those that can be assessed and have a precise monetary worth or amount. Medical expenses such as hospital bills, ambulance fees, in-home care charges, and the price of any medical equipment are considered economic damages. Lost wages are another form of economic damages. People can also make a loss of earning capacity claim if they are unable to return to their previous line of work in addition to making a claim for the income they lost while recovering from their injury.
  • Non-economic damages include the suffering a person has gone through as a result of their injury and the reduction in enjoyment of life. Despite the fact that these kinds of damages are intangible, courts still acknowledge them as losses that malpractice victims should be compensated for. Maryland does set a limit on these kinds of damages. The amount varies each year but an experienced attorney can go over this.

Get A Free Case Consultation Today

The law office of Maryland Injury Guys provides a wide range of services for people who have been hurt or harmed due to medical malpractice. Our team of Maryland medical malpractice lawyers knows that the medical community needs to be held accountable for negligence and we help our clients pursue justice.

Medical malpractice cases in Maryland include the following: birth injuries, hospital mistakes, drug and medical device errors, surgical mistakes, nursing home mistakes, and doctor mistakes. Contact us for a free consultation with a medical malpractice lawyer at Maryland Injury Guys.

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Aaron Blank Esq
Date Published: September 9, 2022
Aaron Blank is a patient safety advocate who holds the healthcare system responsible when it fails. He keeps businesses accountable if they choose profits over the safety of the community, and he ensures car insurance companies pay their fair share for the harm that reckless drivers cause. Aaron and his proficient legal team bring an approach based on dedication, guidance, and compassion through the difficult process of pursuing serious injury claims. He has dedicated his career to fighting for injury victims to recover losses from medical expenses, lost income, loss of enjoyment of life, or the loss of a loved one.
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This website is by Blank Kim P.C. d/b/a Maryland Injury Guys. We have offices throughout Maryland with attorneys licensed to practice law in the state of  Maryland. Use of this site does not form an attorney-client relationship and information herein shall not be construed as legal advice. This website is to be considered as ATTORNEY ADVERTISING. Past settlement and verdict values are no guarantee of similar future outcomes. This firm may retain local counsel to prosecute cases. This website has not been approved by the Court of Appeals of Maryland or the Maryland State Bar. Cases may be co-counselled or referred to other firms for litigation.
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