Quick Answer - What is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice occurs when your medical providers act in a negligent manner or without due care and attention and their negligence resulted in you suffering a preventable injury. Medical malpractice can also occur when you are not told about the known risks of a procedure, and you then suffer one of these known risks, especially if you would have refused the surgery or treatment had you known.
Standards of Medical Care in Maryland
As an American citizen, the average cost of medical care per person across the country is a staggering $12,318 dollars per person per year. This means the United States is the most expensive country in the world for medical care, and not by a small margin either. The number two spot on the list falls to Germany, with just over $7000, meaning the US spends over $5000 more per person than any other country.
For the price that you pay for your medical care and medical insurance, you should have access to medical providers that are trained to the highest possible standard. They should follow their training, complying with the standard medical practices they are taught to adhere to, and they should act with all due care and attention.
Unfortunately, this is not always the case, and when your medical providers act in a negligent manner, their actions can lead to their patients suffering preventable injuries or even death. If you have been the victim of medical malpractice, you have every right to be angry and you deserve to hold them accountable by pursuing compensation and the recovery of your damages.
Victims of medical malpractice usually suffer a range of damages. They may go through pain and suffering and mental trauma that should be compensated, and they may suffer from more economical damages, such as medical bills and lost wages. This is not fair to the victim, and under medical malpractice law, you may be entitled to pursue the full recovery of your damages and compensation for your suffering.
If you have suffered a medical malpractice incident in Maryland, your best chances of successfully winning what may be on offer to you is to speak to a skilled medical malpractice attorney. They will be able to build a case on your behalf, calculate your damages and negotiate a settlement with the other party. If this fails, they will be able to litigate for you in court, convincing the Judge and jury that you deserve what you are seeking.
Speak to a Medical Malpractice Lawyer Today!
When a victim of malpractice gets in touch with our team here at Peter Angelos Law, we assign a dedicated attorney to your case. Every attorney on our team is a prestigious lawyer with experience and victories in countless cases. Our team can boast experience that spans over 50 years, and our reputation for fierce advocacy proceeds us.
Call us today to arrange a free initial case evaluation at 410-705-2405.
What Qualifies as Medical Malpractice?
In order for you to successfully pursue the recovery of your damages, the first thing you and your attorney will need to look at is whether or not you were actually the victim of medical malpractice.
Medical malpractice occurs when a medical provider breaches the duty of care that they owe you, the patient, with their negligent behavior. This could be through a negligent act or the omission of an act. It can also be through a lack of due care and attention. If the injury was preventable in any way, then you may have a claim.
Negligent behavior can be tested by comparing the individual's behavior to that of another "reasonable" provider's behavior. If they would have acted differently if placed in the same situation, then it may be seen as negligence.
Four Elements of a Medical Malpractice Case
Negligence cases are based upon the four elements of negligence. Your attorney will look to prove each individual element if they want the case to be a valid one:
- Firstly, you will need to prove that the party responsible owed you a duty of care. Almost all medical providers automatically assume a duty of care to their patients.
- Secondly, the medical providers actions meant that they breached this duty of care.
- Thirdly, this breach in the duty of care directly caused your injury or harm.
- Finally, this harm resulted in you suffering an injury that required medical treatment and damages on your behalf.
Do not worry if you are unsure about how your case falls in regards to these elements, your attorney will be able to ask the necessary questions and will be able to investigate the case to ensure that each element can be proven.
Peter Angelos Law - Representation For All Victims
At Peter Angelos Law, we aim to provide fierce advocacy and representation to any victim who needs our help.
We offer a free initial consultation to any victim. This is a meeting where you can ask us the questions you need to ask us and we can ask you the questions we need to ask you. We will evaluate your case and will decide whether it is worth pursuing. If it is, we can lay down our fee structure and explain how the process works.
We take medical malpractice cases on a contingency fee basis. This allows victims to obtain representation and pursue what they are owed without the fear of financial strain. You do not pay us a penny upfront and you will not pay us anything unless we win on your behalf. If we win you a settlement, we simply take a flat percentage of it to cover our costs.
Common Maryland Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
Your medical providers should be trained and competent enough that they can assess your symptoms and provide you with a timely diagnosis. Timely diagnosis means that treatment can be administered in an optimum time frame.
When a doctor cannot diagnose your condition, or they take a long time to diagnose your condition, you may not receive the treatment quickly enough for it to be truly effective.
A failed diagnosis can mean patients don't receive the treatment they need whatsoever.
Both a delayed and a failed diagnosis can lead to the aggravation of injuries or may even lead to the death of the patient.
With the potential to be equally as disastrous as a failed diagnosis, a misdiagnosis, one where patients are diagnosed with the wrong condition, can result in serious injuries. When a patient is diagnosed with the wrong condition, they may be given the wrong medication or sent for the wrong treatment.
If a patient is given the wrong treatment for a serious condition, it could prove fatal, or cause serious side effects.
When a patient has to undergo surgery, they will usually need anesthesia. Anesthesia should only be administered by a trained and competent anesthesiologist. Part of their role is to make sure they review a patient's medical records prior to the surgery. They should take note of any conditions, medications and allergies so they can adapt an anesthesia plan that will not cause a negative interaction.
While there are certain inherent risks with any anesthesia, the majority of serious injuries that are caused by an anesthesiologist are due to negligence.
If you have undergone surgery and you have suffered an injury, interactions or allergic reaction due to the anesthesia, this may have been preventable.
Anesthesia errors can occur at multiple occasions during the process. The anesthesiologist may be neglectful when it comes to reading the patients records, the records may not be correctly filled in, or the error may occur during the surgery itself. A common example of this would be when patients are not moved often enough during a surgical procedure and develop an injury due to the position they are left in.
There are multiple points during the process where errors can occur. The error may be down to a lack of attention during the pre-op review or it may occur while the patient is undergoing surgery itself.
Here are the most common anesthesia errors:
- Anesthesia dosage error
- Delayed delivery of anesthesia
- Patient monitoring failures
- Dangerously prolonged sedation
- Failure to recognize and respond to anesthesia complications
- Failure to properly inform a patient of instructions for before, during, or after the procedure
- Faulty equipment
- Shutting off the alarm on the pulse oximeter
- Failure to incubate
- Failure to notice adverse drug interactions
Emergency Room Errors
The employees that work in an emergency room need to be able to handle the stressors of the job. They need to be able to keep cool under pressure and judge which patients from the oncoming flow need to be prioritized.
The hospital also needs to play its part, ensuring that its emergency rooms are kept well-staffed. Understaffed emergency room staff are placed under immense strain, and this can lead to errors.
If you have been admitted to the emergency room and you were left for a long period without being seen, and your injuries worsened as a result, you should contact an attorney.
A pregnant mother needs to be treated with the due care and attention they deserve. This means ensuring they receive adequate fetal monitoring during the pregnancy. Adequate fetal monitoring means that your medical providers detect conditions in a timely manner, allowing ample time for measures to be put in place.
The birth itself is another critical period. When giving birth, the newborn baby needs to be monitored for fetal distress, and if problems arise, the correct decisions need to be made quickly. An example of when this goes wrong is when a doctor fails to convert a mother to a c-section in a timely manner when it becomes obvious she needs to be converted.
Prescription Medication Errors
When it comes to prescribing prescription medication, your medical providers should take the time to sit down with you and explain why they are prescribing it, what it does, and tell you about the known side effects and risks of the medication. They should also cross-check the medication with your known conditions, allergies, and current medication to ensure there are no negative interactions.
If you have suffered a known risk after taking a medication, and those risks were not explained to you beforehand, this could class as medical malpractice.
Your surgeons should be extremely competent, as the smallest mistake in the operating room can be fatal, or lead to serious injuries and complications.
Surgeons are expected to follow medical practices and should act with full due care and attention to minimize the chances of error. If you have suffered injuries due to a surgical error, you should speak to an attorney. They will investigate the incident, and may speak to medical experts to figure out what went wrong, and who is at fault.
Surgeons are often guilty of pushing patients into surgery without giving the patient the option to explore other conservative measures that may be on offer to them. Surgeons will sometimes do this to allow them to bill for a larger amount.
If there was the option of physical therapy or medication, and you were not given these options, if you have suffered a known risk, you may have a claim.
Failure to Inform Patients of Risks
Your medical providers must obtain consent from you before you are sent for a surgical procedure or treatment. In order to obtain valid consent, they must have sat you down and explained the procedure or the treatment and all the known risks and side effects.
If your providers have pushed you into giving consent without explaining the procedure and its known risks to you beforehand, any known risk you suffer, may entitle you to make a medical malpractice claim as you may not have consented if you had known. This is a breach of the doctor patient relationship and is the reason many people file medical malpractice suits.
Medical Record Errors
It is of the utmost importance that your medical providers keep your medical records up to date and accurate. Every time you receive medication or treatment, it must be updated to show you have received said treatment. Your previous conditions and allergies must also be updated. This prevents accidents happening where the patient is given the wrong treatment or treatment that caused an allergic reaction.
Statute of Limitations for a Medical Malpractice Claim in Maryland
In order to protect individuals from being sued years or even decades down the line, the state places legal time limits on how long you have to bring a medical malpractice, personal injury, wrongful death, or birth injury case.
According to these statutes, you only have 3 years from the date of the injury to raise a claim. If the injury was only discovered later, you have 5 years, but no longer than 3 years from the date the injury was discovered.
As well as the legal time limit, there is also a more practical time limit to be aware of. With cases like this, your attorney will always have a better chance of building a successful case on your behalf the sooner you get in touch with them after the incident.
Who Can You Bring a Medical Malpractice Suit Against in Maryland?
- Nursing Homes
- Healthcare Companies
- Aids or Assistants
- Many other medical providers
What Damages Can You Recover Through a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?
For your attorney to recover your damages, they will first need to calculate what they are worth. Some damages are relatively easy to add up. Damages like lost income and medical bills have a clear value. They are also easier to prove as they will likely have a receipt or an invoice.
Next they will work on your non-economic damages. These damages are the subjective ones. Damages like pain and suffering do not have a physical price tag and your attorney will need to decide, based on their experience and skill, what these damages are worth.
Here are the most important damages that you should be aware of when it comes to medical malpractice suits:
Loss of wages and earning capacity
Following the majority of medical malpractice incidents, you may have to take a prolonged period of time off work so you can receive treatment for your injuries. Taking time off work usually results in the victim suffering some loss of wages to some degree.
When your family relies on your income, this can be difficult, especially if you have additional medical bills to pay.
Thankfully, by working with your medical malpractice attorneys, you should be able to document your losses and recover them through your medical malpractice suit.
The state of Maryland allows for all lost income, past and future to be recovered if the claim is valid. This means you can recover back pay for the time you have had to take off work and if your injuries are going to require you to take time off in the future, recover that future pay too.
If your injuries are serious, you may not be able to return to work in any capacity and in these cases, your attorney may work with a financial expert who can help them accurately gauge what this lifetime of earning potential looks like. They can then pursue the recovery of your future losses, too.
Many medical malpractice incidents result in the patient requiring further treatment to fix the damage done. This can mean additional medical bills that arise from costly treatment. This can quickly surpass the coverage that the patient's insurance gives them, leaving them in a tough situation.
However, if you have a valid claim, and your injuries were caused by a negligent medical provider, you can pursue the recovery of all your medical expenses, past, and future.
Pain and suffering
Pain and suffering damages are designed to provide financial compensation to the victim for the emotional distress and physical pain they have been put through as a result of the incident. It also includes any effect on your everyday life. If you can no longer play basketball with friends at the weekend, this is known as a loss of enjoyment of life and deserves compensation.
One of the best ways you can help your case and your attorney is to keep a daily diary following the incident. Any costs you incur, such as medical expenses or lost income, you should document in the diary. You should also keep a note of your daily pain levels and your overall mood.
Filing a Wrongful Death Medical Malpractice Claim
The most serious medical malpractice cases result in the patient losing their lives. Wrongful death claims like this are extremely complex, and will require the victims' loved ones and family to bring the claim on their behalf.
Filing a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of a deceased loved one allows for the family to seek financial compensation for their losses. This money will not bring the loved one back, but it at least ensures they are financially secure while they deal with the bombshell of losing a loved one.
The compensation should cover their loss of support, services and funeral arrangements, reducing their financial burden while they deal with their loss.
This claim can be brought by an Estate representative, often a Personal Representative appointed by the court, or a named representative in the decedent’s Will.
Medical Malpractice FAQs
Our Maryland Medical Malpractice Attorneys May be Able to Help
When a victim has suffered injuries because the medical providers they placed their trust in have acted negligently, it is totally unfair to expect them to pay for their own damages. In order to recover your damages, pursue the compensation that may be on offer to you, and hold the medical provider accountable, you should contact a medical malpractice attorney.
The team here at Peter Angelos Law has a long history of successful cases under our belts. We have been fighting on behalf of victims in the state of Maryland for over 60 years, giving us unrivaled experience to draw upon. We have won cases for clients just like you before and this means we can handle your case, no matter how complicated or difficult it may seem right now.
We pride ourselves on our approach to the client-attorney relationship. We keep our clients informed and in the loop at all times. We listen compassionately, and we fight aggressively without rest.
Call us today at 410-705-2405.