Who Can Be Liable for Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice claims in Baltimore, Maryland may be difficult to win because of the complexity of malpractice cases and the laws pertaining to personal injury lawsuits. Medical malpractice lawyers will be able to help you with your case so you can receive compensation from the people who are responsible for injuries.
Who Can Be Liable for Medical Malpractice?
Determining who is liable for your medical malpractice case is somewhat more complicated than with other types of personal injury lawsuits. In a medical malpractice lawsuit, multiple people or entities can be considered liable for your injury. Some of the people who may be considered liable for your injuries and damages include physicians, nurses, and other medical staff like pharmacists, nursing aides, hospital administrators and EMTs.
It’s also common for medical organizations to be considered liable for your injuries. Some medical organizations that may be responsible for your injuries can include hospitals, urgent care clinics, emergency rooms, private medical practices, rehabilitation and physical therapy clinics, pharmaceutical companies, and nursing homes.
When your lawyer is helping you build your lawsuit, they will study the details and evidence of your case to determine who is liable for your injuries. Oftentimes, this means that multiple people will be considered defendants in your case. It’s common for doctors, nurses, and the hospital where you received medical treatment to all be considered liable for your injuries.
How Do Medical Malpractice Lawyers in Baltimore Prove a Case?
One of the reasons why winning a medical malpractice lawsuit is so difficult is because there are several elements that must be proven in each case. In addition to identifying who is liable for your injuries, your medical malpractice lawsuit must provide evidence to prove several elements, which include:
Medical Provider-Patient Relationship
In order to file a medical malpractice lawsuit, you must have an established relationship with the medical provider or medical entity that caused your injury. For example, you must have had a doctor-patient relationship to establish that the physician was responsible for your treatment and care.
Without establishing this relationship, you cannot hold that physician liable for your injuries and damages. To provide evidence of a medical provider-patient relationship, usually medical documents that show you were under the care of this doctor or medical entity will suffice as evidence.
Failure to Comply with the Standard of Care (Negligence)
You also need to prove that the care you received was negligent, or a breach in the standard of care. The standard of care is an accepted baseline of how the average medical provider would treat a patient in the same or similar circumstance as you. In cases where the standard of care was not complied with, this can mean that a medical provider was negligent in your care.
For example, a common standard of care is to provide a patient with all relevant risks related to an upcoming procedure or treatment. If a physician does not talk about the risks associated with a procedure or treatment, then they are neglecting the standard of care and may be found to be negligent in your treatment.
Another element that will need to be established is causation. Specifically, you must prove that the negligence claimed proximately caused your injuries. For example, if there was a surgical error in your treatment, and you sustained a serious injury as a result, this is proof that the negligence of the operating physician caused your injury. Oftentimes, people feel that they received substandard care from their physician, however, if that substandard care did not result in a quantifable injury or damages, that individual will not have a viable lawsuit.
Proof of Damages
Your case will also need to prove damages related to the injuries you sustained as a result of medical negligence. These damages can be both economic and non-economic. It’s important to provide a full list of damages so that you can receive fair compensation.
Common Types of Medical Malpractice
There are several circumstances that are commonly related to medical malpractice lawsuits in Baltimore. Your circumstances may or may not fall under one of these common categories. Be sure to consult with medical malpractice lawyers to know whether your circumstances qualify for medical malpractice. The most common types of malpractice include:
A misdiagnosis can be detrimental to your health. Misdiagnosis can mean that you are given incorrect treatments or prescriptions, or that your health concerns are overlooked. For example, women who complain about severe menstrual cramps but don’t receive any examinations to assess for a condition such as endometriosis may be experiencing a diagnostic error that could qualify for medical malpractice, especially if a second opinion correctly diagnoses the condition. Diagnostic errors are becoming increasingly more prevalent with the uptick in urgent care medicine and telehealth services.
Prescription errors are also very serious. A prescription error can occur in one of two ways. The first way is that a physician prescribes an incorrect dose or an incorrect medicine for your medical condition. This can mean that you are being prescribed drugs that can make your health condition worse or trigger allergic reactions.
Another way a prescription error can occur is from the pharmacy. For example, if the pharmacist incorrectly fills a prescription, and you are harmed by the medication given to you, this can also be considered medical malpractice.
A surgical error that may qualify for medical malpractice can include operating on the wrong part of the body, performing an incorrect medical procedure, or even leaving a foreign object inside the patient. In many cases, you may not realize that you have received a surgical error until your health condition worsens after or during recovery.
Anesthesia injuries can often result in traumatic brain damage or even loss of life. These injuries occur when you are given too much anesthesia during a procedure or if you have an adverse effect to anesthesia. When general anesthesia is used during a procedure, a licensed anesthesiologist is supposed to monitor your vital signs. If the anesthesiologist is negligent in your care, this can result in severe medical consequences.
Finally, birth injuries are also fairly common in medical malpractice lawsuits. A birth injury can put the life of the infant and the mother at risk. Some birth injuries can include cerebral palsy, surgical tool injuries, delayed C-sections, and more. Children who suffer from birth injuries can experience lifelong developmental delays and paralysis, while mothers who are injured during childbirth can lose their lives.
What Compensation Might You Deserve?
The compensation you deserve for medical malpractice can include both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are typically related to the cost of your medical treatment, loss of the ability to earn a living wage, and other economic factors. Not economic damages include pain and suffering.
While there is no cap on the compensation for economic damages related to medical malpractice, medical malpractice lawyers will advise you that there is a cap in Maryland for non-economic damages.
What Is the Statute of Limitation in Maryland?
Your lawyer will also advise you on the details of the statute of limitations. In general, in Maryland, you must file a medical malpractice lawsuit earlier than three years from the date your injury occurred. If you did not discover your injury until later, you may have more time, but you must contact a Maryland attorney immediately to discuss your applicable time limitation. If a lawsuit is not filed timely, you will likely be barred from ever bringing a malpractice action. Different statute of limitations exist in special circumstances. Specifically, injuries that occur to minor children may be filed within three years of the minor reaching the age of majority, however, this provision only allows the child to recover for damages related to their claims. It does not allow the parents to recover any of thier damages, as parents are typically bound by the three-year rule since they were not minors when the injury occured. This concept usually applies in birth injury cases where the baby was harmed and the parents paid significant sums of money to provide care for their child’s treatment. The parents in this type of situation only have three years from the date of the child’s injury to file suit for the financial losses they suffered. These rules can be complicated and vary depending on the situation, so it is important to contact a Maryland malpractice attorney immediately to inquire further about how the statute of limiations may affect your claims.
Medical malpractice lawsuits are complicated because of the elements that need to be proven in your evidence. A lawyer will be able to help you build a case based on the type of malpractice you have endured and the type of compensation you are seeking. Please contact Peter Angelos Law in Baltimore, MD to learn more about your rights as a patient.