My law firm handles medical malpractice cases. Our medical malpractice lawyers have recovered tens of millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts in malpractice lawsuits for victims.
There is a great deal of confusion about how these claims work. Most people do not educate themselves about how the legal system treats malpractice claims until it impacts them or someone they love. It is human nature. So this page helps malpractice victims and families impacted by a healthcare provider’s negligence better understand the lawsuit process and Maryland law so you can make informed decisions.
What is Medical Malpractice in Maryland?
Medical negligence occurs when a doctor or health care professional injures a patient with negligent or inappropriate medical care. The consequences of medical errors can be very serious. If an accountant or other professional provides negligent services, it typically just costs you money. Medical negligence, however, can cause permanent physical injuries and sometimes death.
Too often, the harm caused by a doctor who breaches the standard of care cannot be undone. Instead, our legal system offers victims of medical malpractice financial compensation.
Our legal team makes this point to both clients hesitant to bring a valid claim and also to jurors. Our civil justice system is about giving money for harm. Medical negligence litigation is always about money damages. Our attorneys’ goal every day is to get as much money as possible for victims of health care mistakes who deserve compensation. If we do not think you deserve compensation, we are not your lawyers. Because I would not take your case.
Elements of a Medical Malpractice Claim in Maryland
Doctors and hospitals are not in the habit of admitting that they committed an error that hurt of killed a patient. If you want financial compensation for injuries caused by a medical error, you will need to show that you are legally entitled to it. To have a valid claim, you must prove a health care provider’s breach of the standard of care. For this, a plaintiff needs to prove two things:
- the health care provider’s care deviated from accepted medical standards or practices, and
- this deviation from standard medical practices caused injury or a wrongful death
Establishing each of these elements is a complex and expensive process. For starters, you will need another doctor on your side to act as an expert witness.
In fact, Maryland law requires that all healthcare error cases file what is called a certificate of merit. This is a qualified expert opinion confirming that the case has merit. Getting an opinion from another doctor that your case is valid is just the first step and does not guarantee success. The defendants will present their own experts who will say that the doctors did nothing wrong and the plaintiff’s claims have no merit. So our medical malpractice attorneys need to gear up for a fight.
Common Types of Medical Malpractice Claims
Medical malpractice can occur in any situation and take a variety of forms. There are certain types of cases that are frequently litigated. Below, I summarize more common categories of medical malpractice.
Failure to Diagnose/Misdiagnoses
The most common malpractice case our lawyers see in Maryland is the failure to diagnose. Correctly diagnosing your medical condition is one of the most important things a doctor does. When health care professionals fail to diagnose a condition, it results in incorrect or delayed treatment which can cause significant harm.
So failed or delay diagnosis is the most common type of medical malpractice claim. Failure or delayed diagnosis of cancer, particularly breast and colon cancer, leads to many malpractice claims.
The key issue in misdiagnosis malpractice claims is whether the doctor’s diagnostic procedures were adequate based on accepted medical standards. It is not enough to say that the doctor “could” have eventually diagnosed the condition by doing further testing—that can be said in every case. The question is whether another doctor under the same circumstances would have done the additional testing and diagnosed the condition. In some misdiagnosis cases, correct diagnostic testing was done. But the doctor did not do what has to be done considering the diagnosis. Our attorneys see so many departures from the stand of care by doctors in which a simple medication or procedure could have saved the victim’s life with just a bit more attention and urgency.
Birth Injuries/Labor and Delivery Malpractice
Our malpractice lawyers focus on birth injury cases. Birth-related injuries give rise to many medical malpractice cases. This is because a large percentage of all birth injuries directly result from medical malpractice by the doctor and/or delivery team.
Many complications that often occur before or during childbirth must be resolved in a very short window of time. Common examples of these childbirth complications include:
These complications are well known and OB/GYNs are trained to respond to them. A skilled, experienced doctor and delivery team should be able to handle these complications and deliver the baby without injury. Poor communication and rushed decision making often result in injury. Birth injuries can involve injury to the brain or nerves because of a lack of oxygen. They can also involve broken bones and similar physical injury. Some birth-injuries that are generally the result of malpractice include: cerebral palsy, Erb’s palsy, brachial plexus injuries
Hospitals are legally obligated to ensure a certain level of care for all patients. This means hospitals can be liable if they fail to deliver the proper level of care resulting in injury to a patient. Moreover, hospitals are liable for the actions of their employees such as nurses, technicians and sometimes doctors. This can be sometimes true with emergency room errors even when the doctor is an independent contractor. Anytime a malpractice injury occurs at a hospital, there is a very good chance that both the medical professional responsible and the hospital will have some liability.
From a plaintiff’s perspective, hospitals are more favorable defendants than doctors. There are several reasons why it’s sometimes easier to go after a hospital for malpractice. First, juries hold doctors in high esteem. They give them the benefit of the doubt. The same is not true for hospitals. Juries are much more willing to lay blame on hospitals as opposed to individual doctors. Another reason hospitals make better malpractice defendants is that they are more likely to settle cases. Hospitals are businesses. They will often settle cases to protect their image and keep allegations of malpractice out of the news.
When performing surgical procedures, surgeons are held to the same standard of care required of all doctors. A surgeon must perform each medical procedure with the skill and care reasonably employed by other surgeons under similar circumstances. Surgical errors happen more often than people think. One recent report estimated that 10% of post-surgical deaths result from a preventable medical error. Some common types of surgical mistakes that lead to medical malpractice lawsuits:
- Gallbladder removal surgery
- Wrong-site surgery
- Anesthesia errors
- Gastric bypass surgery
- Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)
- Laparoscopic intestinal surgery
- Thoracic surgery
Medication errors involve administering or prescribing incorrect medication and related forms of medication-related negligence. Negligence claims based on medication errors can be brought against doctors, pharmacies, and other healthcare professionals involved in the prescribing and administration of drugs. Below is a list of the medication and prescription errors that frequently result in malpractice claims because the health care provider breached the acceptable standard of care in the medical community:
- Wrong Drug Combination: a patient is injured when they take 2 prescription medications that dangerously interact with each other. Both the prescribing doctors and the pharmacies involved can be liable for malpractice in this situation.
- Incorrect Medication: the doctors, nurses or pharmacies are supposed to give a specific drug to a patient but make a mistake and end up administering a totally different drug. When this sort of mistake results in injury to the patient, a clear claim for malpractice exists.
- Side-Effect Injuries: when doctors prescribe a medication, they are supposed to be aware of the potential side-effects of a drug. Prescribing doctors also have a duty to ensure that the risks of the medication do not outweigh its benefits. When a patient is injured by medication side-effects, they may have a viable lawsuit against the doctor.
Maryland Malpractice Statute of Limitations
I can’t tell you how many potential clients who had good cases we rejected because of issues with the statute of limitations. The big thing that you have to understand is that Maryland’s medical malpractice law has acceptable excuses for missing the three-year statute of limitations that applies to most medical mistake cases in Maryland. If you think you have a claim, call me or call someone today. Get an idea of what the rules are and what is the deadline for filing a timely claim. Because the best attorneys in the world cannot get you around a claim that the statute of limitations bars.
MILLER & ZOIS – Attorneys to Fight for You
If you have a serious injury or wrongful death case, you want the best lawyer you can find. Miller & Zois is one of the leading medical malpractice firms in Maryland. Our experienced medical malpractice lawyers have handled thousands of medical malpractice cases and earned millions in compensation for our clients.
Our law firm is in Maryland. If you live in the Mid-Atlantic area and believe you or a family member have been injured or have a wrongful death claim as a result of the mistake of a medical provider, call Miller & Zois at 800-553-8082. We have years of experience and a long history of success. You can also get a free online case evaluation.
You are guaranteed to work with an attorney chosen as a SuperLawyer in Maryland. We have handled claims in every circuit court in this state and, of course, Baltimore City. Our attorneys are real people who are compassionate and want to help. We will review your case and consult with appropriate experts and give you our best legal advice moving forward.