How Long Does a Medical Negligence Lawsuit Usually Take?
Medical malpractice can result in negative health and economic consequences that can be difficult to recover from. An injury sustained in a medical facility or as a result of a medical professional’s negligence may be a reason to pursue a medical negligence lawsuit. But what can you expect from this type of lawsuit?
How Long Does a Medical Negligence Lawsuit Usually Take in Baltimore?
Medical malpractice lawsuits are complicated cases that involve expert opinions, evidence of injury, and proof of negligence. Proving any legal case can take time, but medical malpractice claims can take several months to process. In fact, after a lawsuit is filed with the court, it may take 16 to 24 months before the case reaches a final resolution decided by a judge, jury, or settlement.
Typically, there are a few steps preceding the filing of your malpractice lawsuit that may also take several months to complete. For example, after consulting with a legal team that will determine whether or not you have a case, it may take four to six months or more to gather expert opinions, documents, and other evidence for your case before your lawsuit is even filed. Put together, it’s likely that your case will take around two years to reach any conclusion.
What Is the Statute for Medical Malpractice Lawsuits?
Like any other type of lawsuit, there is a timeframe where you can file for medical negligence. In Maryland, this timeframe is five years after the date of the injury or three years after the injury has been discovered. This statute of limitation is set under the Maryland Courts and Judicial Proceedings Code section 5-109.
Because there is a timeframe where you can legally file a medical malpractice lawsuit, it’s important that you seek help from an attorney as soon as possible. The sooner you seek help after your malpractice incident, the sooner your legal team can gather evidence and move your case to court for final resolution.
What Is a Medical Negligence Lawsuit?
Medical negligence is a type of personal injury lawsuit that is filed when you or your loved one is injured during medical treatment. For example, errors in the emergency room are a common type of medical malpractice. Several components are used to provide evidence for medical negligence, which your legal representation will help you gather to prove your case to the court.
Proving the Standard of Care
Your lawyer will first need to establish that you and the medical professional treating you had a formal doctor-patient relationship. Then, the standard of care for your medical condition will need to be outlined to highlight the areas of your treatment that were not up to the medical standard for treatment. Typically, this will require additional evidence from a medical expert.
Proving Your Damages
The next step of your lawsuit will be to prove the injuries that were identified by the medical professional’s failure to adhere to the standard of care. Proof for these injuries may be found in corrective treatments you may have needed to recover from the medical negligence incident. Depending on your case, you may need to complete specific exams to provide additional evidence to the court, such as an independent medical exam.
You will also need to prove economic damages, such as medical expenses generated by the corrective treatments and ongoing treatments for your injury. Economic expenses may also include loss of wages from unemployment or disability, personal expenses to cope with lifestyle changes created by the injury, and other damages.
What Characteristics Identify a Medical Negligence Lawsuit?
Most medical malpractice cases share the same characteristics, although these characteristics may differ based on your treatment and injuries. Some of the most common characteristics that can identify medical malpractice include:
Most procedures have a known set of common outcomes, including pain during recovery and how long the recovery is. However, some patients have abnormal results after a procedure that may indicate something about the procedure has gone wrong. For example, if you are experiencing pain, infection, or lengthy recovery time after your procedure, you may have abnormal results from your procedure.
No Informed Consent
Medical professionals are obligated to obtain informed consent about medical treatments and procedures. In particular, physicians are required to tell you about the possible risks associated with treatment, including risks associated with taking medications to manage a condition.
However, if you were not given all of the necessary information to make an informed decision about your treatment and you were harmed by the treatment, then the medical professional who treated you may have violated informed consent procedures.
Although it may not happen often, the medical professionals involved in your treatment may admit their mistake, either to you or your family. Admitting that something went wrong during your treatment may be a reason to pursue a medical malpractice claim, particularly if the physician apologizes, offers compensation, or mentions a medical error. The admission of an error may strengthen your case.
What Are Common Medical Malpractice Claims?
Several common circumstances may qualify for a medical negligence lawsuit. For example, an emergency room error that results in a medical injury may be identified as medical malpractice, particularly if the emergency room personnel did not follow standards of care or did not provide adequate care for your treatment that resulted in your condition worsening. Other situations that are common for medical malpractice lawsuits include:
Birth injuries are different from birth defects, which are developmental health concerns that occur during gestation. A birth injury, on the other hand, happens during childbirth and may cause permanent damage to the infant or even harm the mother. Injuries such as cerebral palsy, surgical instrument injuries, and other injuries may qualify for this type of malpractice claim.
Every surgery carries similar risks to patients, such as the risks associated with the use of general anesthesia. Regardless of whether your surgery was minor, routine, or major, a surgical error can harm your health. In fact, some surgical errors may even require additional surgery and hospital stay to correct the original error. Identifying a surgical error can happen immediately after the surgery or if you have not recovered within the expected timeframe after the procedure.
Most people who have medical treatment are likely prescribed medication. However, if you have been prescribed the wrong dose, the incorrect medication, or a medication you are allergic to even though the physician is aware of your drug allergies, then you may have a medical malpractice claim. Both physicians and pharmacists can commit medication errors, such as when a pharmacist fills a prescription incorrectly.
Failure to Diagnose
Failing to diagnose your condition can also be considered medical malpractice. Correctly diagnosing your condition is the first step to establishing a treatment plan, but when you have been misdiagnosed or you have not been diagnosed promptly, your condition can become worse.
In Baltimore, it can take up to two years to reach a conclusion for a medical negligence lawsuit. Because proving a medical malpractice case is a complicated endeavor, the best thing you can do is seek experienced legal representation to help you build your case. To learn more about medical negligence, contact Peter Angelos Law in Baltimore, MD today.