There is nothing worse than a serious injury or medical ailment. Going in and out of hospitals and taking time off to recover from surgeries can be very tiring. Even worse? Sustaining another injury on top of the original from an instance of malpractice on the part of your doctor. When a doctor shows negligence, and it leads to a serious effect on your physical or mental well being, you may be entitled to receiving compensation for your suffering. Read on to learn more about:
- What Constitutes Malpractice and Common Examples;
- How Maryland’s Malpractice Laws May Come to Your Use in Court; and
- Taking Your Case to Court: Building the Case Against Malpractice
The Requirements of a Medical Malpractice Case
Though the definition of medical malpractice is fairly simple—an instance where a doctor harms their patient through their own negligent acts, there are legal requirements you must first show happened to prove it occurred. Though you will see these requirements follow the basic definition itself, proving each of them in court is a legal task you must accomplish to have a chance at justice.
The conditions for proven medical malpractice are as follows:
- You must have an established doctor-patient relationship, where your doctor agreed to treat you, and you intentionally hired your doctor;
- The doctor was negligent and caused harm in a way a competent doctor would not; and
- The harm led to specific damage you can demonstrate in court.
If you can prove these, then chances are you have a case to argue. However, it can get complex depending on your own circumstances and the legal push-back you face. There are additional state provisions you need to account for in order to further your case efforts—more on that later.
First, if you are unsure of whether your case may qualify as medical malpractice, here are a few examples of common cases:
- Misdiagnosing or Failure to diagnose an illness is one of the most common forms of malpractice, especially when it leads to significant harm in the future;
- Cases where your doctor misreads your laboratory results or ignores certain results that lead to your health deteriorating and prevent you from receiving treatment often lead to malpractice cases;
- Improper treatment (medication dosage, etc.), unnecessary surgery, or surgical errors are very popular examples of malpractice that end up in court; or
- Negligence in follow-ups, discharge, or aftercare leading to harm may result in malpractice trials.
There are, of course, other examples of malpractice not present here, and if you’re having trouble identifying whether it qualifies, contact an attorney and start your path to settlement.
Your Malpractice Case in Maryland: Knowing the Laws
Something we have mentioned in our earlier blogs on injury-adjacent law is the statute of limitations: a law setting a time limit on when you may take legal action. Maryland allows filings up to five years after the injury happened OR three years after you discovered the injury. With the latter, you may see the effects of inadequate care or a surgical error a few years down the line as opposed to in the immediate few months after; thankfully, the law account for situations like these.
If the malpractice case is for a younger family member, such as anyone under 18, Maryland will not start the statute of limitations until they turn 18.
Other conditions in Maryland’s Statute of Limitations include one for mental incapacitation. If you suffered a coma as a result of malpractice, the statute goes into effect three years after its ending. This may extend to any other relevant mental injury that leaves you incapacitated.
Additionally, Maryland also requires you to affirm your malpractice case through a qualified medical professional who may certify your former doctor did not meet the medical standard of care, and it caused your injuries. When we say courts require this certificate, it means they may not see your case at all without—no matter the strength of your claim.
There’s something else you need to know before going to trial: the damages cap. When it comes to navigating this, stick with 2021’s cap: $845,000. Every year, this cap increases by $15,000, meaning if next year you suffer a malpractice-related injury, 2022’s cap will be $860,000. Likewise, if your case originated in 2020 and still falls within the statute of limitations, you subtract $15,000 from the cap.
These cases may take a while, but they give you the opportunity to soften the blow that a medical injury caused. However, for this to come to fruition, it is important you seek out the legal assistance of skilled injury lawyers who are ready to take your case to court.
Forming the Legal Team and Building Your Malpractice Case
One of the main things your attorneys will take into account is the idea of a medical “standard of care.” This is a central element to many malpractice cases, for once an attorney can prove that any other health care professional would not have provided the same treatment under similar circumstances, they have laid the foundation for the rest of your case.
This is where your certification from a medical expert comes in; if you have a professional close to your case, they may testify on your behalf. In addition, your lawyers may reach out to other people close to the case and ask them to testify as well.
In general, proving negligence involves demonstrating how your former doctor breached their duty of care and caused significant damages in the process. It requires a keen eye for the law, but also an understanding of the medical field.
Our attorneys have the dexterity to take your case to the courts and fight for your damages. Rather than go the distance grasping at straws, choose JC Law’s legal team to give you the support necessary to withstand a legal battle.
Have a recent medical injury you think may have resulted from malpractice? Contact our offices for a free initial consultation.