Gallagher v Mercy Medical, a new malpractice case handed down this week by the Maryland Court of Appeals, is the most recent decision from our high court in which a plaintiff’s medical malpractice claims against Mercy Hospital were barred under the “one satisfaction” rule. This rule makes it tough to bring both an auto tort and a medical malpractice case related to the same accident. If you are handling car accidents cases and there might be a malpractice element to it, you want to read this case (or at least this blog post). The law here his not intuitive because it leads to something the law should not — injustice.
In short, the malpractice claims against Mercy related to treatment for injuries the plaintiff sustained in an auto accident. The plaintiff had already sued the at-fault driver and received settlements from his insurer and a UIM settlement from her own insurance company.
The Court of Appeals held that the settlements from the auto tort action constituted “full satisfaction” for plaintiff’s alleged injuries and, therefore, her subsequent malpractice claims for those injuries were barred by the one satisfaction rule.