Areas of Practice

FAQ on Medical Malpractice Claims

Did you suffer an injury or complications because of the careless actions of a medical professional who treated you?

You may be able to file a medical malpractice lawsuit to pursue compensation for medical costs and other damages caused by your injuries. Our Maryland medical malpractice attorneys know that you likely have many questions about medical malpractice cases. That is why we have compiled a list of frequently asked questions about these cases.

If you have more questions and want to discuss your potential legal options, contact our attorneys today for a free, no obligation legal consultation.

Complete a Free Case Evaluation form or call us at 410-244-7005.

What is Medical Malpractice?

Medical malpractice is more than just mistakes or errors made by medical professionals when providing treatment to patients. A medical professional’s actions are not considered medical malpractice unless they failed to meet accepted standards in the medical community and caused a patient to suffer a personal injury.

Determining if you were a victim of medical malpractice is very difficult on your own. That is why you should meet with a medical malpractice lawyer to determine if you have grounds for a lawsuit.

What are Some Common Types of Medical Malpractice?

There are many examples of actions that could be considered medical malpractice, including:

  • Surgical errors – This could include leaving sponges or surgical tools inside a patient or operating on the wrong body part. There are also cases of surgical malpractice where a hospital with poor sanitation procedures causes patients to develop infections from unsanitary instruments.
  • Medication errors – These are mistakes with medications given to patients, such as prescribing the wrong medication, giving a patient the wrong dosage or administering a medication incorrectly.
  • Misdiagnosis – This is when a medical professional fails to diagnose an illness, diagnoses a patient with the wrong illness, or fails to diagnose the correct illness when he or she should. Misdiagnosis can be a life-threatening mistake, as it often happens with serious illnesses like cancer or a stroke.
  • Birth injuries – These are injuries that occur during pregnancy, labor or delivery of a baby. Birth injuries are often a result of medical malpractice, such as improper use of tools to aid in the delivery or failing to notice fetal distress.
  • Anesthesia errors – If a medical professional overdoses a patient on anesthesia or keeps the patient under too long, it could result in life-changing injuries.

There are many examples of actions that could fit the definition of medical malpractice. If you were injured because of substandard medical care, you should contact an attorney right away to determine if you have legal options.

Who Can be Held Liable for Medical Malpractice?

Any medical professional involved in your medical treatment who violates accepted standards in the medical community could potentially be held liable for medical malpractice. This could include:

  • Doctors
  • Surgeons
  • Pharmacists
  • Psychologists
  • The hospital or medical facility itself
  • Dentists
  • Nurses
  • Hospital staff
  • Laboratory technicians

What is My Medical Malpractice Case Worth?

The value of a medical malpractice case depends on many factors, including the severity of your injuries, the damages you suffered and a variety of other factors, such as the strength of your case.

Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may be able to pursue compensation for various damages, including:

  • Medical bills – We can pursue compensation for all past, current and future medical bills from your injury, such as bills for surgery, prescription drugs, medical testing and stays at the hospital.
  • Lost wages – If your injury prevents you from working, we may be able to obtain compensation for all wages you lost during that time.
  • Pain and suffering – This refers to physical pain and emotional problems caused by your health problems, such as depression or stress.
  • Loss of companionship – Your health problems could affect your relationship with your spouse. For example, you might not be able to provide the same level of love and affection as you did before. You may also not be able to do the same things around the house you used to do.

Unfortunately, Maryland also has a damage cap on the amount of non-economic compensation you can recover for personal injury or wrongful death caused by medical malpractice. Non-economic compensation includes pain and suffering and loss of companionship. The cap was set at $650,000 in 2008 and has risen by $15,000 each year. Our Maryland medical malpractice lawyers can determine what the cap is as we evaluate your situation.

Why Do I Need a Medical Malpractice Lawyer?

Medical malpractice cases are extremely complicated and time consuming. It takes time to fully investigate your situation and gather evidence to prove your case and the value of the damages you suffered. These are difficult things to do on your own, particularly if you are dealing with injuries or a serious illness.

These are some of the main reasons you should strongly consider working with a medical malpractice attorney on your case. Not only can an attorney manage every aspect of the case, he or she will also have a wealth of legal knowledge to help in building your case.

The attorneys at our firm also have access to medical experts who can help us prove malpractice occurred and all of the ways it has affected you.

How Much Does a Medical Malpractice Lawyer Cost?

People are often fearful of contacting an attorney because they think it will be expensive. However, the attorneys at our firm work on a contingency fee basis. The contingency fee arrangement means that your consultation is 100 percent free and you will not have any fees or costs for our services unless our clients receive compensation through a settlement or jury verdict.

What Do You Need to Prove in a Medical Malpractice Case?

There are five elements to every medical malpractice case. Our attorneys must establish all five elements to have any chance of recovering compensation for your claim.

The five elements of medical malpractice include:

  • Doctor-patient relationship – This relationship existed if a medical professional provided treatment or you agreed to receive treatment.
  • Duty of care – If there was a doctor-patient relationship, there was also a duty of care. This is a legal obligation to provide medical care that meets the medical community’s accepted standards, given the medical professional’s expertise and geographic location. This means your doctor should have provided care that is similar to what a similarly-trained professional would have provided in the same situation.
  • Breach of duty of care – Our Maryland medical malpractice lawyers need to show that the doctor in question did not fulfill his or her duty of care.
  • Causation – Our attorneys need to show that the medical malpractice directly caused your injury or the worsening of an existing injury.
  • Damages – This could include many things, such as medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

What Should I Do if I Suffer Medical Malpractice?

If you suffer any form of medical malpractice, your first priority is to obtain medical treatment. You need to have all of your medical issues diagnosed so they can be treated as quickly as possible. In some cases, the faster you receive treatment, the better your prognosis will be, particularly with diseases like cancer.

Once treatment has begun, you should contact an attorney to determine your legal options. An experienced attorney can review your situation to see if you have grounds for a lawsuit and how much compensation you could be entitled.

How Long Do I Have to File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?

All medical malpractice claims in Maryland are governed by a statute of limitations. This is a law that sets a deadline for filing a claim. If you miss the deadline you will be prohibited from pursuing a case.

Maryland’s medical malpractice statute of limitations is five years from the date of your injury or three years from the date you discovered the injury, whichever date is sooner.

If you believe you were a victim of medical malpractice, contact our medical malpractice lawyers in Maryland today to review your situation. If you have a viable case, we are prepared to fight for the justice and compensation you deserve.

Call The Law Offices of Peter T. Nicholl today at 410-244-7005.

Contact our personal injury lawyers for a free consultation if you have been injured by another’s negligence. You may be entitled to compensation.