Have you been injured at the hands of your healthcare provider’s negligent or wrongful actions? Did you lose a loved one due to their medical team’s recklessness? If so, you may have the right to financial compensation for your losses. However, medical malpractice claims and civil lawsuits in Maryland are some of the most complex tort claims you can pursue.
Make sure you have an experienced and dedicated legal advocate on your side. A respected Maryland medical malpractice lawyer from Parker, Pallett, Slezak & Russell can help you navigate the process and help you avoid being taken advantage of. Contact our law firm for a free consultation today and learn more about how much you could be awarded.
What Constitutes Medical Malpractice in Maryland?
In many lines of work, making a mistake or error on the job is acceptable. In some cases, it is even encouraged. However, this is not the case for medical professionals.
Health care providers are held to a higher standard since patients’ lives are in their hands. One wrong decision or mistake could cost a patient their life or result in severe or permanent disabilities.
To have grounds for a medical malpractice claim, your attorney must show that your healthcare providers failed to uphold a proper standard of care. The medical standard of care is breached when a healthcare provider makes a decision or fails to make decisions that other competent healthcare providers of similar job training, experience, and education would not have made.
To prove negligence has occurred, under the state’s medical malpractice law, your lawyer must show the elements of negligence have been met as follows:
- Your healthcare provider must have owed you a duty of care, meaning you must have been their patient, or the healthcare provider must have been responsible for providing you with a diagnosis or treatment
- Your healthcare provider must have breached this duty of care by making a decision or failing to take action
- Your healthcare provider’s breach of their duty of care must be the direct cause of your injuries
- You must have suffered damages, whether that be emotional, financial, or physical
Maryland Medical Malpractice Statistics
There are more than 20,000 medical malpractice cases filed annually across the U.S. However, this is a small fraction of the number of victims of medical malpractice, which are significantly greater.
Roughly 250,000 people die annually from medical mistakes. This makes medical malpractice the third leading cause of death in the United States. Only heart disease and cancer cause more deaths.
Three primary types of medical malpractice generally cause these mistakes. Approximately 29% of medical malpractice cases are caused by improper treatment or care. Up to 26% of medical malpractice lawsuits are brought forward by a failure to diagnose, while 24% involve surgical errors.
Other vital statistics and Maryland medical malpractice facts to be aware of as you move forward with your lawsuit include:
- Medical errors cost an estimated $20 billion annually in the U.S.
- According to the National Practitioner Data Bank, more than 3,000 medical malpractice lawsuits are paid out for wrongful death cases
- Medical malpractice and negligence claims are paid out in just 1.2% of all fatalities caused by preventable medical errors
- The New England Journal of Medicine states that approximately 99% of medical doctors will be sued in a malpractice case at least once in their career
- Physicians across the country received more than 85,000 medical malpractice cases over ten years
Common Types of Medical Malpractice in Maryland
The most common types of medical malpractice issues seen in Maryland include multiple types of mistakes and errors. However, many patients are unaware that they are victims of medical malpractice until it is brought to their attention by a friend, family member, or attorney.
You might have no idea that your healthcare provider has made a mistake or error until you start to suffer severe side effects, symptoms, injuries, illnesses, or damages.
That said, once you recognize some of the most prevalent types of medical malpractice, it may be easier to identify which healthcare providers have victimized you.
Failure to Treat
Failure to treat means your healthcare providers failed to treat an existing medical condition. This can often go in hand with a failure to diagnose a medical condition or a delayed diagnosis.
Many victims will find their symptoms written off or their concerns not taken seriously and grow frustrated by their healthcare provider’s failure to take action.
Failure to Provide Follow Up Care
A failure to provide follow-up care means your healthcare provider did not issue you follow-up instructions or directions to obtain care or treatment after an initial procedure or diagnosis.
After receiving a medical diagnosis, seeing healthcare providers in the emergency room, or being discharged, you should have received instructions on how to care for your condition and directions to set up an appointment for a follow-up evaluation.
If you did not receive these instructions or your healthcare provider did not attempt to reach out and try to follow up, and you subsequently suffered injuries or illnesses, you might have grounds for a medical malpractice claim.
Misdiagnosis means your healthcare provider did not correctly diagnose your medical condition. Although many medical conditions have similar symptoms, you should be able to rely on your healthcare provider to diagnose you correctly after conducting the proper tests.
Failure to order necessary testing, evaluate test results correctly, or otherwise make a mistake that results in a missed diagnosis means your healthcare provider could be held accountable for your damages.
Surgical mistakes happen far more often than they should. When your surgeon, surgical nurse, or other surgical team members fail to uphold their responsibilities, you can suffer severe and debilitating injuries. Some examples of surgical mistakes include:
- Operating on the wrong body part
- Operating on the wrong person
- Leaving surgical instruments in a body cavity
- Performing unnecessary surgery
- Damaging nerves during surgery
- Performing surgery under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Performing surgery without experience
- Delaying surgery
Along with surgical mistakes are anesthesia errors. When anesthesiologists or other healthcare providers make anesthesia errors, victims can suffer permanent and fatal injuries. Some of the most prevalent types of anesthesia errors include:
- Using the wrong anesthetic
- Anesthesia dosage mistakes
- Failure to monitor patients under anesthesia
- Delayed administration of anesthesia
- Improper administration of oxygen
- Providing too much or too little anesthesia
- Defective or malfunctioning anesthesia equipment
- Leaving a patient under sedation for too long
- Patients becoming aware while under anesthesia
- Intubation mistakes
- Failure to recognize anesthesia errors
- Failure to notice when patients have allergic reactions to anesthesia
- Failure to communicate anesthesia mistakes during surgery
- Combining drugs that interact
Other common types of medical mistakes healthcare providers make are those involving birth injuries. Any time a pregnant person or their unborn or newborn baby suffers a severe injury, illness, or death due to a birth mistake, their healthcare providers could be liable.
Some of the top types of birth injuries our firm has handled include the following:
- Brachial plexus injuries
- Erb’s palsy
- Cerebral palsy
- Facial paralysis
- Subconjunctival hemorrhage
- Caput succedaneum
- Soft tissue injuries
- Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE)
- Intraventricular hemorrhage
- Spinal cord injuries
- Injuries caused by forceps
- Collarbone or clavicle fractures
- Intra-abdominal birth injuries
There are also several maternal birth injuries that you may be able to sue for, including:
- Prolapsed uterus
- Vaginal tearing
- Uterine rupture
- Uterine inversion
- Postnatal depression
- Postnatal traumatic stress disorder
- Excessive bleeding
- Anal fissures
Birth injuries can often be prevented if caught during the pregnant person’s prenatal appointment. However, any mistakes during prenatal care, labor, or delivery could be grounds for a lawsuit.
Prescription Medication Errors
When pharmacies or healthcare providers make medication mistakes, it could cost patients their lives. Some of the most common types of prescription medication errors include:
- Prescribing medications without checking for drug interactions
- Dispensing expired prescription drugs
- Prescribing medications for an incorrect amount of time
- Prescribing improper dosages of medications
- Prescribing medications that are too strong or weak
- Improperly preparing prescription medications
- Filling in the correct prescription medications
Defective Medical Devices
One of the most common medical malpractice claims involves defective and malfunctioning medical devices. Although cutting-edge technology makes it possible to treat more medical conditions than ever before, technology is still imperfect.
Most medical devices are considered foreign objects, and it is common for the body to reject them. However, when these devices malfunction, are faulty, or are incorrectly installed, patients can suffer debilitating injuries and damages.
Grounds for Legal Action After Medical Malpractice
You may not always know if you have grounds for medical malpractice lawsuits. You may be hesitant to contact an attorney for help due to concerns that you will be accused of pursuing a frivolous claim.
However, as long as your legal advocate can show that someone else’s negligent or irresponsible actions were the cause of your injuries, you may have the right to total compensation for your suffering.
Common Injuries to Sue For
Many misconceptions surround when you have the right to sue for medical malpractice. You might believe you must have suffered critical, permanent, or life-threatening injuries to take legal action against negligent healthcare providers. However, this is not the case.
That being said, there are some types of injuries we see more often in Maryland medical malpractice cases than in other personal injury cases. These injuries often include:
- Facial injuries
- Dental injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Emotional injuries
- Internal injuries
- Organ failure
- Back injuries
- Neck injuries
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Fractured and broken bones
- Contusions, abrasions, and lacerations
- Third-degree burns
- Soft tissue injuries
If you suffered another type of injury not included above, you may still have grounds for a medical malpractice suit.
A personal injury attorney at our firm will carefully examine the details of your case to determine whether you have the right to compensation for your suffering.
Liability in Maryland Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
Nearly any type of healthcare provider can be sued in a medical malpractice lawsuit. As long as the healthcare provider in question owes you a duty of care, they may be responsible for your damages when mistakes occur.
Physicians and dentists have the greatest number of medical malpractice claims brought against them out of all healthcare providers. However, other types of staff that could share blame in your medical malpractice case include:
- Certified nurse Midwives
- Nursing assistance
- Surgical nurses are
- Physicians offices
- Dental hygienists
How the Medical Malpractice Claims Process Works
Many victims of medical malpractice are hesitant to move forward with claims for myriad reasons. However, one of the most reported is the lack of information about how medical malpractice cases work. Once you consider your legal options and decide to tell your story, there are steps you can take to demand justice.
Although every person’s case is different, here is a general idea of what you can expect from the medical malpractice claims process in Maryland:
- First, hire a medical malpractice attorney
- Your lawyer will then thoroughly investigate the cause of your injuries and identify medical mistakes and errors
- We will gather compelling evidence to prove your healthcare provider’s negligence and breach of the standard of care
- Next, we go over the various ways your life has been affected by your injuries to calculate the total cost of the provider’s medical error
- At this point, your medical malpractice attorney will consider your legal options, which might include mandatory arbitration unless waived, filing a medical malpractice claim with your insurance company, or pursuing a lawsuit in civil court
- From there, you can expect your lawyer to negotiate with insurance companies, present your case before arbitrators if required, and advocate for your right to maximum compensation at trial if necessary
How Long Do You Have to Sue For Medical Malpractice in Maryland?
Maryland’s medical malpractice statute of limitations is found under Maryland Code Section 5–109. Here, the law states that medical malpractice suits must be filed within five years of the date of the injury. However, it must be filed within three years of the injury date if the victim should have discovered or discovered their injuries.
If a patient is under the age of 18, the statute of limitations will be temporarily tolled or stopped until they reach the age of 18. Additionally, patients suffering from mental incapacitation at the time of the medical mistake have up to three years from the date their disability ends to get their claim filed.
Clearly, the statute of limitations deadline is not always clear. If you need help figuring out how much longer you have to get your claim filed, do not hesitate to contact your medical malpractice attorney to discuss the specific details of your case.
Recoverable Damages in Your Medical Malpractice Insurance Claims and Lawsuits
You can expect your medical malpractice lawyer to carefully scrutinize how your life has been affected by your injuries. This will help us ensure we seek maximum restitution for your damages. Losses can take multiple forms. They do not only need to be financial.
Some of the most common types of economic and non-economic damages you could recover in Maryland medical malpractice payouts include:
- Loss of employee benefits, including retirement savings contributions and provided health insurance coverage
- Loss of paid time off, salary increases, promotions, and bonuses
- Physical pain and suffering
- Psychological distress and emotional trauma
- Loss of income and potential future earnings
- Costs of medical expenses and ongoing medical care
- Costs of home accommodations and medical devices or equipment
- Future medical expenses
- Loss of consortium
- Reduced quality of life
- Damage to your personal or professional reputation
- Disfigurement or skin scarring
Punitive damages might also be awarded to medical malpractice victims. However, Maryland civil courts will generally only award punitive damages for conduct deemed intentional, malicious, grossly negligent, or egregious. Although punitive damages awards are rare in medical malpractice cases, such an award could dramatically increase the total value of your settlement.
The Maryland Cap on Medical Malpractice Damages
It is important to note that Maryland has a cap on the amount of compensation you can recover in medical malpractice and personal injury claims. However, this cap only applies to the amount of non-economic damages you can recover.
This means there will be a limit to the amount of compensation you can recover for damages that do not have a set financial value.
Under Maryland Code, Section 3-2A-09, as of 2023, the maximum amount of compensation that can be paid out in a medical malpractice claim for non-economic damages is $875,000 for injuries that occur in 2023. If your injuries occurred in 2022, the cap would be set at $860,000. This amount increases by $15,000 annually to account for inflation.
It should also be noted that Maryland has an additional cap on medical malpractice claims that involve wrongful death. If two or more claimants are pursuing the case, or there is more than one beneficiary, the cap of non-economic damages cannot be greater than 125% of the year’s maximum. For example, in 2023, the total cap on wrongful death medical malpractice claims would be set at $1,093,750.
Maryland Medical Malpractice FAQ
We understand that the medical malpractice claims process can be especially confusing. For this reason, we have answered some of the most frequently asked questions surrounding medical malpractice lawsuits below.
If you have additional questions, we did not answer on this page, do not hesitate to contact our team to discuss your concerns further.
Are there any special requirements for medical malpractice lawsuits in Maryland?
There are multiple special requirements you should be aware of if you are pursuing a medical malpractice claim in Maryland. One of the most common is the mandatory arbitration requirement.
If your claim is worth more than $30,000, you need to file your claim and an expert certificate with the Maryland Health Care Alternative Dispute Resolution Office. If you do not want to go through arbitration, you must file a form to waive arbitration within 60 days of the defendant filing their expert certificate.
How much can you sue for medical malpractice in Maryland?
You have the right to be made whole when someone else is responsible for causing your injuries or damages. This means you can sue for maximum compensation.
You can rely on your medical malpractice attorney to go over your economic and non-economic damages at length to ensure every loss is considered. That way, you can be sure you have the greatest chance to get the most out of your claim.
What is the average medical malpractice settlement in Maryland?
There is no average medical malpractice settlement in Maryland. Although data may indicate there is a specific number, this is not the case. Every patient suffers different injuries, damages, and losses when victimized by medical malpractice. The amount of compensation they can recover for their economic and non-economic damages will have a wide range.
The average medical malpractice settlement takes into account both the lowest and highest payouts. However, this does not indicate how much you could expect to recover in your medical malpractice case. The best way to determine what your damages are worth is to discuss your losses in depth with your attorney.
How do I file a medical malpractice lawsuit in Maryland?
To file medical malpractice cases in Maryland, you should contact a personal injury attorney for help. When you contact our team of medical malpractice attorneys, we will discuss how your injuries occurred, what potential medical mistakes were involved, which parties could be sued, and what legal options are most likely to produce a favorable outcome in your case.
Can I be accused of being at fault for my injury or illness?
Yes, you can expect the defendant to attempt to blame you for your damages. Since Maryland operates under a pure contributory negligence system, if you are found partially liable for your injuries, you will be barred from recovering compensation for your damages.
For this reason, you need a skilled medical malpractice attorney by your side to ensure liability is assessed accurately and you are not taken advantage of during this challenging time in your life.
Why do Maryland courts require experts to testify in medical malpractice cases?
Maryland civil courts require experts to testify since judges and juries cannot determine whether medical negligence occurred without an expert opinion. Only experts can determine whether physicians or other healthcare providers made mistakes and whether these mistakes were the cause of the patient’s subsequent injuries, illness, or death.
Meet with a Medical Malpractice Lawyer in Maryland for Help Today
Are you ready to hold negligent and irresponsible healthcare providers accountable for their recklessness? Are you interested in learning more about the value of your damages and what is next for your medical malpractice case?
Look no further than the legal guidance and support of our team at Parker, Pallett, Slezak & Russell. Schedule your no-cost, risk-free consultation with an experienced Maryland medical malpractice lawyer at our firm today. You can reach us through our quick contact form or phone at (443) LAWYERS to get started.
Our personal injury law firm, Parker, Pallett, Slezak & Russell, LLC, has extensive experience in all forms of medical malpractice. Whatever your injury, we are here to help. Here are some specific examples of our most common types of medical malpractice cases.
- Prescription Errors
- Misdiagnosis Situations
- Needless or Ineffective Treatments By Medical Practitioner
- Incomplete treatments
- Needless treatments
- Use of treatments that harm patients
- Harmful surgical procedures.
- Surgeries that are not really needed
- Procedures that are performed without true consent
- Surgeries on the wrong area of the body
- Operations that leave equipment such as sponges behind
- Surgeries that are performed with incorrect anesthetic procedures
- Child is delivered in an incorrect manner for the child’s pre-birth condition
- Poorly performed c-sections
- Causing infection in the mother or baby during delivery
- Failure to provide necessary care to the newborn after birth
- Injuries that occur when the child is passing through the birth canal
Call Us Today For More Information
If you believe you have been injured due to medical malpractice, please get in touch with a member of our team today. We can work with you to help you decide whether or not you have a medical malpractice case and we can help represent you when it comes time to go to court. Call us today for more information regarding medical malpractice cases.