Can You Sue for Pain and Suffering in Maryland?
When you file a medical malpractice lawsuit in Baltimore, MD, your compensation will generally consist of economic damages associated with the medical treatments you needed to recover from your medical negligence injury. However, you may also be entitled to pain and suffering damages. Learn more about pain and suffering compensation before you contact malpractice lawyers.
Can You Sue for Pain and Suffering in Maryland?
Pain and suffering are considered a type of “non-economic” damage. The amount of money you can sue for these non-economic damages will depend on unique calculations based on the the Maryland cap on non-economic damages applicable to the year in which your injury occurred, pursuant to statute.
It’s common to add pain and suffering damages to a lawsuit for medical malpractice. This is because the non-economic damages an individial would make a claim for is usually representative of the extent of pain and suffering and physical harm they have sustained due to the malpractice. Almost always, a claim is made for the physical harm that has resulted due to a medical provider’s failure to treat properly. Most likely, the amount of pain and suffering award is related to the extent of pain and suffering resulting from the injuries sustained.
How Is Pain and Suffering Calculated?
Several complicated factors are involved in calculating pain and suffering damages. One of the main reasons you will need to hire malpractice lawyers is to ensure that your non-economic damages are correctly reflected in your lawsuit so that you receive fair compensation for your injuries. Maryland juries will evaluate a variety of factors about the malpractice case, the individual circumstances of the victim, and the impact the injury has had on the victim’s life.
For example, the court will want to know how the injury has affected the physical and mental health of the victim, their overall wellbeing, including their ability to perform activities of daily living, career opportunities, or companionship. Non-economic damages can also include physical discomfort from medical treatments, chronic pain caused by the injury, scarring, disfigurement, and mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression, and PTSD.
Is There a Cap on Pain and Suffering?
In Maryland, the cap for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering is limited to $860,000 for injuries that occur in 2022. However, these damage caps increase by $15,000 each year to keep up with the rise of inflation, so depending on when you file your medical malpractice lawsuit, the cap will be determined every year.
There may be different caps that apply to wrongful death lawsuits. For example, if you are filing a medical malpractice case in Maryland as a surviving family member, and their are two or more legal beneficiaries of the decedent, you may be able to receive up to $1,075,000 for pain and suffering. Furthermore, there is no cap on economic damages for wrongful death or medical malpractice lawsuits.
Are There Special Requirements for Medical Malpractice Cases?
To file a medical malpractice lawsuit with malpractice lawyers, you will need to meet certain special requirements. For example, if the expected damages for your claim are over $30,000, Maryland law requires that you fulfill certain regulations. If you are filing a medical malpractice claim, then you must obtain an expert certificate attesting that the case has merit. This expert certificate must be filed timely in Maryland’s Healthcare Alternative Dispute Resolution Office. There are specific procedures that must be followed when filing in Maryland’s Healthcare Alternative Dispute Resolution Office, so be sure to contact a Maryland Attorney for assitance in filing medical malpractice actions. A medical malpractice case alleging more than $30,000 in
injuries and damages cannot be filed in Court until it has followed the requisite protocol mandated by the Medical Malpractice Claims Act.
How Medical Malpractice Lawyers Can Help
Malpractice lawyers are well-versed in the laws and regulations that dictate medical malpractice claims in Baltimore, MD. A lawyer specializing in malpractice law will be able to help you achieve your goals for your lawsuit, including securing adequate compensation for both economic and non-economic damages. A few specific ways a lawyer can help can include:
Evaluate Your Case
The first step to filing a malpractice lawsuit is to have your case evaluated by a lawyer. You will present your case to a lawyer, who will examine the details of your case to determine whether you have a malpractice case. In general, malpractice cases can include birth injuries, injuries from surgeries, pharmacy errors, diagnostic errors, and much more.
A lawyer will also evaluate your case based on factors that determine negligence, which is crucial to prove in a medical amount practice case. Specifically, a lawyer will evaluate whether or not the medical provider rendered care in accordance with the applicable standard of care, and whether or not that failure to comply with the standard of care directly caused the patient’s injuries.
Other factors that lawyers may consider are:
Lack of Informed Consent
When a patient undergoes a procedure or treatment, a physician must obtain consent from the patient, which verifies that the patient has a full understanding of the procedure. This is called informed consent.
Examples of lack of informed consent include a physician failing to provide necessary information to the patient about the treatment, a physician failing to explain risks associated with the treatment, and unexpected harm that is done to the patient during the treatment. A patient must testify that had they known of the inherent risks before the treatment or procedure, they would not have agreed to that treatment or procedure.
Abnormal or Unsatisfactory Results
Abnormal or unsatisfactory results associated with recovery from common procedures are another indication that medical negligence is involved in your case. For example, the expected recovery time for any given procedure may take a certain number of weeks. If you experience complications during your recovery or if your recovery is taking much longer than expected, this could be an indication that your procedure was not performed correctly.
Patients who have abnormal or unsatisfactory results from a medical treatment often have to seek additional medical care to diagnose the issue and get treatment, which creates additional medical bills and debt.
Admission of Medical Error
Finally, if a medical professional admits that there was a medical error, this is also indicative of negligence. If a physician apologizes to the patient or the family, if compensation is offered by the hospital or the physician directly, or if there is an admission of any error related to the treatment, these can all be grounds for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Avoid Statute of Limitations
A lawyer will help you avoid the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations associated with medical malpractice cases in Baltimore. Maryland statute dictates that claims for medical malpractice must be filed within three years from the date of injury. In certain circumstances where the injury is not discovered until later, individuals may have more time, but never to exceed more than five years from the date the injury occured. Please consult a lawyer licensed in the State of Maryland for assistance in understanding the medical malpractice Statute of Limitations, since it’s application in certain situations can be complicated.
For minors who were injured by a medical professional, they may have three years after they turn 18 to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.
In Baltimore, MD, people who are victims of medical malpractice can sue for pain and suffering. Pain and suffering damages are calculated based on unique factors related to the victim’s circumstances and the details of their case. The cap for pain and suffering damages increases each year. Contact Peter Angelos Law in Baltimore, MD to learn more about non-economic and economic damages you can claim when filing a medical malpractice lawsuit.