How Do I Know if I Can Pursue a Medical Malpractice Case?
Every single year, victims of medical malpractice lose their lives because of the negligent actions of their medical providers. America is the most expensive country in the world to seek medical care, and for the cost we pay, this kind of negligence is totally unacceptable.
If you have lost a loved one because of the actions of a medical provider, you may be entitled to pursue a wrongful death claim on their behalf. This may allow you to recover the victims' damages and pursue compensation for your grief and loss of services.
Medical malpractice claims are complex to begin with, but when a victim loses their life and the case is escalated to a wrongful death claim, they become even more so. This is why it is crucial that you contact a medical malpractice attorney with experience in handling complex cases involving the wrongful death of a patient.
As a law firm that has been serving the state of Maryland for over 50 years, and one that dedicates all of its time to fighting on behalf of medical malpractice victims, we are uniquely positioned to pursue your case. Our team has the experience in the medical malpractice arena, the skills, and the track record to fight your case.
We work on a contingency fee basis, meaning there is no up-front cost, and we offer a free initial consultation and case evaluation, so call us today at 410-705-2405.
If you are still on the fence, here are the six most important qualities that we think you should look for and that we aim to exemplify.
What Qualities to Look for in a Maryland Medical Malpractice Wrongful Death Lawyer?
A History of Success and Proven Record for Winning Cases
When considering an attorney in any field, from divorce to criminal defense, personal injury to malpractice, the top priority should always be to find one with a track record for winning cases. The more cases the attorney has fought and won that were similar to yours, the better.
With experience in past cases they have won, your attorney will be better prepared to fight your case. If your case takes a different direction, your attorney will be ready to tailor your strategy accordingly.
You can outright ask your potential attorney for their history of success, and a good attorney will be more than willing to provide it, or you can head to a website like AVVO. AVVO is an independent site that attorneys cannot influence themselves that rates an attorney out of 10.00 based upon their past track record for winning cases, peer reviews, accolades, awards, accreditations, and years of service.
Experience in Your Local Area
When it comes to wrongful death cases, there will be a lot of state-specific rules and laws. This means you should always pick an attorney that covers your state and isn't nationwide. This ensures they are up to date on the local legislature and have experience fighting cases in the local courts.
Over our 50 years of service, Peter Angelos Law has built a reputation for fighting on behalf of victims of all shapes and sizes. We have won billions in large cases, with Marylands' largest settlement against the tobacco giants ($4.5 Billion), and we have fought countless medical malpractice cases.
This reputation ensures that when the opposition and their insurance companies hear about your representation, they know you mean business. Our attorneys are known for their skill in the courtroom and their skill at the negotiation table. This may result in you securing a fair settlement without needing court involvement.
Over the last five decades, our team of attorneys has fought against and negotiated with many of the insurance companies that may be on the other side of the table. We have also worked with numerous Judges and attorneys, building working relationships that could prove beneficial in tailoring your case.
As a Maryland-based law firm, we have a vast network of resources across the state, and we will employ them to your case if need be. This includes some of the very best medical experts around. When your case needs expert testimonial, this means you are getting the highest quality testimonial that may prove instrumental in your case.
Impeccable Communication and Organization Skills
The more experience and the better the track record a law firm and its attorneys have, the more likely they are to have a full caseload of clients. In order to help them adequately manage this full caseload, they will need strong time-keeping and organizational skills and must be able to communicate excellently.
You should always feel like they respond to your queries promptly, never leaving you in the dark and feeling anxious about where your case stands.
Though it is not realistic to expect 24/7 availability, your attorney should have clearly established boundaries and respond in a timely fashion when contacted.
The Right Qualifications
When you begin looking for a lawyer in Maryland, it's important to ensure they have all of the relevant and necessary qualifications and training to practice law in the state. You can look for this information on their website or on an independent site such as AVVO.
Other indicators that you may want to look for are any awards and accolades that the lawyer has received, such as a Super Lawyer award or Best of the Bar.
For instance, our founder Peter Angelos has been honored by the Baltimore Urban League, NAACP, Associated Black Charities of Maryland, Johns Hopkins Allen L. Berman University Real Estate Institute, The Baltimore Sun, and more, while Thomas Minkin has been listed as a Super Lawyer in Maryland and has received a 2015 and 2018 lifetime achievement award from the Baltimore Building & Construction Trades Council and the Daily Record, respectively.
A Caring and Compassionate Personality
While fighting and winning your wrongful death case is important, it is also important that you are treated with care and compassion at this time. We understand how difficult it is for our clients to lose someone they love. When this happens because of negligence, it is only normal to be angry at those responsible.
Your Maryland medical malpractice attorney should provide a compassionate ear when necessary and ensure they do everything they can to reduce the strain the case will likely put on you.
It is important that you get along with your attorney because you are potentially going to be dealing with them for years to come, and you will need to discuss some difficult topics with them.
The Right Fee Structure
Our law firm was built with one goal in mind, to fight on behalf of the victims of Maryland that need us. This is why we fight our cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that you do not have to find up-front costs and you only pay our fees if we win your case, as a flat percentage. Our initial consultation and case evaluation are free, and give you a chance to talk through what has happened with some Maryland medical malpractice lawyers, and ask the questions you need to ask.
We will evaluate your case, and if it is worth taking on and you agree to our fee structure we can begin right away.
How Does Maryland Medical Malpractice Law Define Wrongful Death
Under Maryland law, a wrongful death is defined as the death of a person caused by the wrongful act, neglect, omission, or liability of another. In order for a wrongful death claim to be successful, you will need to work with your attorney to prove that the medical provider was negligent and that their negligence was the true cause of the loved one's death.
In addition, you and your attorney must demonstrate that they suffered damages due to the loved one's death. Damages may include medical expenses, lost wages, funeral expenses, and other intangible losses such as loss of consortium and emotional distress.
Four Elements of a Medical Malpractice Case
It is important that your attorney can prove the four elements of negligence for your wrongful death claim to be successful. They are:
- Firstly, you will need to prove that the party responsible owed your loved one a duty of care. Almost all medical providers automatically assume a duty of care to their patients.
- Secondly, the medical provider's actions meant that they breached this duty of care to your loved one.
- Thirdly, this breach in the duty of care directly caused your loved one injury or harm that either directly caused their death or caused injuries that later on led to the victim's death.
- Finally, this harm resulted in your loved one, their family/spouse suffering damages that need to be recovered.
Common Causes of Medical Malpractice Wrongful Deaths
A failed or delayed diagnosis from your loved one's medical provider may have resulted in them not receiving the treatment they need or receiving it too late to work.
If your loved one was misdiagnosed, they might have been given the wrong medication or sent for the wrong procedure. This may have led to them suffering a known risk, or caused an interaction with their previous condition that led to their death.
Emergency Room Errors
It is important the emergency room staff are trained and that the emergency room itself is staffed correctly. If this is not the case, they may not prioritize the flow of oncoming serious injuries correctly, which can lead to a patient's death.
If your loved one died because of a mixup in prescription medication or because they were prescribed medication that negatively interacted with previous conditions or current medication that should have been considered, this could be grounds for a claim against the provider.
Statute of Limitations for a Wrongful Death Claim in Maryland
In Maryland, wrongful death cases resulting from medical malpractice must be filed within three years from the date of death or from the date when the injury causing the death is discovered or reasonably should have been discovered.
The statute of limitations is in place to prevent lawsuits from being brought against parties when too long a period has elapsed. Due to this period of time, the evidence may not be sufficient to judge the case accurately.
Who Can You Bring a Wrongful Death Suit Against?
Most health care providers and medical providers that owe you a duty of care can be found negligent, including:
- Nursing Homes.
- Healthcare Companies.
- Aids or Assistants.
- Many other medical providers.
What Damages Can You Recover Through a Wrongful Death Lawsuit under Maryland Law?
Following a wrongful death caused by medical malpractice in Maryland, your family may be entitled to pursue the recovery of a range of damages. They may be entitled to sue for their economic damages, such as the deceased party's lost income, medical bills, and funeral costs.
If your medical malpractice lawsuit is successful, you will be able to recover all of the medical bills and expenses suffered by the deceased. This should cover all past medical bills and any medical expenses that they may have had to pay.
The family of the wrongfully deceased may be entitled to claim for all of the lost income that the deceased will lose because of their death. Your attorney may need to bring in a financial expert who can help them calculate what a life of lost earning capacity looks like so the family can pursue the full amount.
If your Maryland medical malpractice lawsuit is successful, you will be able to recover all of the wrongfully deceased's funeral costs.
In a wrongful death medical malpractice suit, you and the other family members of the deceased may be entitled to pursue compensation for the emotional aspect of your case. You may be entitled to claim for the loss of your family members' support and companionship.
Medical Malpractice Wrongful Death FAQs
How long do wrongful death claims take?
It is difficult to place an average time scale on wrongful death claims. Every case will have countless individual factors and a unique series of events that led to the death of the loved one.
The length of time your wrongful death case takes will depend upon the length of time it takes to investigate what happened and build a strong case against the other party. It will also depend upon the skill and reputation of your attorney and the skill of the attorneys on the other side of the table.
If your attorney has a strong reputation for winning wrongful death claims in court, they might be more likely to settle with you for a truly fair and reasonable amount.
If not, your case may take longer as your attorney will have to litigate and fight your case in court, especially if the other party is denying medical negligence or medical error.
How is a wrongful death/medical malpractice claim funded?
As a medical malpractice law firm, we believe that the opportunity to hold medical providers accountable following the tragic wrongful death of a loved one should be available to all family members. We don't charge upfront for our representation, which means there are no up-front costs to pursue your case, and you pay nothing if we lose. If we win your case, you simply pay us a percentage of whatever we win you.
Once you call, an experienced medical malpractice attorney at our firm will discuss your case with you. They will then arrange a more formal sit-down meeting where they may ask for things such as copies of your loved ones' relevant medical records.
Do all wrongful cases go to court?
Most medical malpractice and wrongful death claims do not make it to the courtroom. This is because it is in both parties' best interests to avoid court involvement, and most medical malpractice attorneys will not persuade victims to pursue a claim if their case is weak.
If it is clear your attorney is confident you have a case and can provide the right evidence, the other side will likely settle.
However, many cases still make it to court, so you should ensure that your attorney is a fierce litigator.
Should you accept the first offer of compensation?
One common tactic employed by insurance companies defending negligent medical providers is to calculate the potential losses early on in the case and offer a low settlement in the hopes that it is still attractive enough for the victim to accept.
They may attempt to do this in the early days of the case, hoping that the money is attractive enough to get you to agree, thus forging the right to pursue further compensation.
It is important to discuss any settlement offer with an attorney, as the first offer is typically much lower than the true amount of damages. A lawyer can determine the true scope of the case and negotiate with the other party to reach a fair settlement. This often means using the lowball offers as the low bar for their negotiations.
If the other party is offering a quick settlement, it is a likely sign that they know the provider has in fact acted negligently.
Our Maryland Medical Malpractice Attorneys May be Able to Help
No family should have to deal with the loss of a loved one, and when it occurs due to medical negligence from the providers, we pay so much money too to help us; you have every right to be furious.
Here at Peter Angelos Law, we promise to do our hardest to hold medical providers accountable for our clients. We make this promise so that our clients can rest assured, knowing we are doing everything we can for their case, removing them from it as much as possible to allow them the time and space they need to grieve and come to terms with what has happened.
We don't rest, we don't settle for less, and we won't stop until every stone has been unturned, every avenue has been explored, and every chance has been taken to secure you the favorable outcome you and your loved one rightfully deserved.
Call us today at 410-705-2405.