If you call our attorneys to discuss a Maryland medical malpractice case, we will talk to you about the steps involved in the process of bringing a malpractice claim in Maryland.
Step 1: When you call our law office, you will be directed to our medical malpractice intake specialist. The intake specialist's job is to get (1) your general information and (2) the details of your malpractice case.
The intake specialist makes an initial evaluation as to whether you may have a viable case. Many people call to report either (1) rude or insensitive behavior from a medical doctor, or (2) a negligent act from the physician that could have but did not cause the caller any injury. Both of these complaints are unfortunate. We sympathize because these types of problems can be very frustrating, but they are not sustainable malpractice claims.
Step 2: If you may have a medical negligence case, you are transferred to speak to a Maryland medical malpractice lawyer. We will answer any questions that you may have about your case and how these cases proceed. During this conversation, we will mutually decide whether our law firm should further investigate your case.
Step 3: If our law firm does agree to investigate your case, we will enter into an agreement with you that sets forth the work our malpractice lawyers will do for you and the method of compensation. Miller & Zois agrees to advance all costs, only to be repaid in the event of recovery, and to work on a contingent fee basis. In other words, our attorneys receive a percentage of the gross recovery. You lose nothing in the event there is not a recovery.
Step 4: From here, our team will get a more detailed medical history from you, including the physicians and hospitals who have provided medical treatment to you. Our team then obtains all of your relevant medical records. In almost every case, these medical records - what they show and do not show - are the evidence that gives us the ability to determine whether you may have a viable claim.
Step 5: If we believe you have a case after receiving from your medical history and reviewing the medical records, our attorneys consult with a physician in every medical malpractice case in Maryland. Medical experts are required to establish the standard of care in the medical community for treating a patient who presented in a similar fashion as the medical malpractice plaintiff.
The doctor must also testify in a malpractice claim in Maryland that there is a greater than 50% likelihood that your injuries would not have happened if your doctor had not committed medical malpractice.
Accordingly, before we bring a lawsuit against the doctor(s), our attorneys consult with doctors who are willing to offer their opinions as to whether he or she believes that medical malpractice has occurred. Because many local doctors will not give opinions for victims because they are regularly working with the doctors who we suspect of malpractice, we are often required to go outside of Maryland to find fair and impartial doctors who are willing to offer honest opinions.
Step 6: Unless we know it would be a waste of time, we seek first to settle your case before filing suit. Out-of-court settlements in medical error cases in Maryland are very rare. Why? Even if they think their physician is responsible for making a mistake, the malpractice insurance company wants to size up your claim before putting a dollar value on it.
Step 7: We file your lawsuit. For more on that process, click here.Getting a Lawyer for Your Case
There are many differences to keep in mind when filing a medical malpractice lawsuit and a regular tort lawsuit in Maryland. Here are the 7 key differences:
- In Maryland, you are first required to file your malpractice lawsuit - with an arbitration panel, instead of filing it in court. This process is not optional.
- The claimant must also file a certificate of a qualified expert, within ninety days of the filing of the claim. Importantly, claims are rarely pursued in arbitration, because either party, typically the Plaintiff, can waive out of arbitration requirement, after the filing of a certificate of expert and report. Our lawyers file this simultaneously with their arbitration claim, so it will get to the court more quickly. The certificate must be from a qualified doctor in this area of medicine who can attest to (1) the breach of the standard of care, and (2) that the breach is the proximate cause of the harm caused. The doctor on the certificate may not spend more than 20% of his/her professional activities to activities that directly involve testimony in personal injury claims.
- Maryland law also requires not just a certificate of a qualified expert, but a report of the attesting expert. Many forests have been burned over what needs to be in this report and how it must differ from the certificate.
- The cap on damages in medical malpractice cases for pain and suffering are lower than what you can obtain in other personal injury cases. The Maryland legislature has mistakenly yielded to the doctors', lobbyists and enacted legislation. Therefore, in 2004, restricted damages in claims against health care providers became effective.
- Medical bills can only be introduced, if they were actually paid or were a cost to the victim. This change is under the Maryland collateral source rule and is specific only to malpractice cases. In a regular tort claim, Plaintiffs can seek all of their medical bills, even if they have been paid by their insurance or some other source. Therefore, if you have $400,000 in medical bills, paid by your health insurance and there is no lien, you can ask the jury for that full $400,000 in medical bills. In a malpractice claim, these damages cannot be claimed. The statute of limitations is different in Maryland medical malpractice claims too. The most notable difference is that Maryland has a time limit on bringing a claim, even if the victim did not reasonably know that she/he had a claim.
- You almost certainly need an expert in a medical malpractice case, if you want to survive summary judgment and get your case before a jury.
This is not the entire constellation of differences between malpractice cases and regular personal injury claims in Maryland. But these are the key differences you want to keep an eye on, if you are bringing a medical negligence claim in Maryland.Get More Information on Bringing a Malpractice Claim in Maryland
- Medical malpractice statistics in 2021 that will blow your mind
- Learn more about medical malpractice claims in Maryland with this broad overview of how to make a claim and what you can expect.
- Learn more about another type of claim that falls under Maryland Malpractice Act: nursing home neglect and abuse case
- Do you have questions? We have answers to your medical malpractice questions
- How much do plaintiffs get for medical malpractice cases?