Medical Malpractice | Your Questions Answers
Medical malpractice is where a medical doctor or other health care provider failed to meet the standard of good medical practice in the area in which the medical professional practices. In other words, the health care provider failed to do what a reasonable health care provider would have done under the same circumstances. If malpractice occurred, the health care provider is liable for any resulting damages that are the direct cause of the negligence.
In other words, a successful malpractice case has two essential elements. First, an act of malpractice (negligence) by a health care provider, usually a doctor, nurse, or hospital. The second component is an injury that is the direct result of the above act of malpractice. There can be malpractice without injury where the health care provider did something wrong, but you were not injured as a result.
A malpractice suit begins with a filing to the Maryland Health Claims Arbitration Office. Within 90 days of filing a medical malpractice claim, you must file a certificate from a qualified expert who has recent experience in the relevant field attesting to the failure to meet the standard of care and that the breach was the proximate cause of your injuries. In the real world, you want to file that certificate of merit before you file your lawsuit. Plaintiffs' counsel should have all of their ducks in a row before filing the claim, or you find yourself playing catch up for the entire case.
In almost 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 plaintiff. The doctor must also testify that there is a greater than 50% likelihood that your injuries would not have occurred if your doctor had not made a mistake.
Accordingly, before we would file your case, our attorneys consult with medical doctors who are willing to offer their opinions as to whether he or she believes that there were mistakes that caused the injuries or death.
There is. The general rule is that you have three years from the date on which the wrongful act occurs or the death of the victim. But there are exceptions that can lengthen or shorten the statute of limitation in medical negligence cases. You can read more about them here. But you are best served by contacting counsel immediately to make sure your are not sleeping on your rights to bring a claim.
Statistically, there is good news and bad news. Most medical negligence cases in Maryland end in a defense verdict. How many? Plaintiffs win about 8% of the time according to one survey.
If you are a victim looking at the battle ahead, this is depressing. But there is a bright side. First, most medical malpractice cases that present cases with real merit settle out-of-court. Defense lawyers fear trying close call cases. They let the sure winners go to trial.
Second, and this is self-serving to be sure, we have won the majority of our malpractice claims. Does this mean we are certain to win yours if you hire us? Of course not. Every case is different and past success hardly guarantees any future outcome. But the point is that if you have a good case, and you have a good lawyer who is willing to fight for you, then you have a real chance of winning.
Hopefully for you, it will cost you a lot. Why? Most likely, if you have a medical malpractice case you are going to hire contingency fee lawyers. Why not just pay someone hourly? Because it is just a great deal of cost and risk. We front all of the costs and expenses in our cases. It is easy for these expenses alone to move quickly past $100,000 much less the amount of time that goes into these cases. Few victims want to take this risk. Under this agreement with us and most other law firms who handle these cases, if we lose, you don't pay us anything, and we are the ones responsible for all of the costs. If we win for you, you pay us a percentage of the recovery.