Medical Malpractice Questions:
What Is Medical Malpractice?
All healthcare providers must comply with “the standard of care.” The standard of care for a healthcare provider in Maryland is what a reasonably prudent healthcare provider would do under the same or similar circumstances. If a healthcare provider fails to act reasonably under the circumstances, then he or she has “breached” the standard of care. But, a breach alone is not malpractice – the breach by the healthcare provider must cause damage. The damage caused by a medical mistake varies but usually involves a serious injury or death.
How Do I Know if the Injury or Death Was Malpractice or a Complication of the Procedure?
In general, it is malpractice if the injury or “bad outcome” could have been prevented or should have been avoided. On the other hand, if the healthcare provider acted reasonably and took reasonable precautions and an injury resulted anyway, the injury might be a known complication. Determining whether an injury was malpractice or a known complication often involves an expert opinion by another healthcare provider in the same or similar area of medicine and your attorney will investigate the care and treatment to determine this answer.
How Much Will It Cost Me to Get an Expert Opinion?
ZERO! Although most medical malpractice cases can cost more than $100,000 to pursue, a good medical malpractice attorney will front all the costs of bringing a lawsuit and recover those costs back at the end of the case if there is a verdict or settlement against a healthcare provider.
Who Will Pay Me if There Is a Settlement or a Verdict Against a Healthcare Provider?
Just like you have car insurance, most healthcare providers have medical malpractice insurance that will pay the settlement or judgment. If a claim is against a hospital, most hospitals are self-insured for actions of their healthcare providers.
What Should I Do if I Think I Am the Victim of a Medical Mistake?
If you think that you or a loved one has suffered a serious injury or death as a result of a medical mistake you should consult with an attorney who is known for handling cases involving medical errors and mistakes. The attorneys at Potter Burnett Law will review your potential case with you at NO COST to you.
What Happens After I Consult With an Attorney?
If an attorney determines the injury or death may be the result of a medical error the next step would be to obtain all of the relevant medical records and have them reviewed by a medical expert. Again, the investigation is at NO COST to you. If the experts believe there was a breach of the standard of care that caused you or your loved one harm, the next step would be filing a lawsuit and pursuing your claim.
How Long After an Injury or Death Do I Have to File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit?
In Maryland, the time to file a medical practice, also known as the Statute of Limitations, is generally 3 years. You can review this law at §5-109 of Md. Code, Cts. & Jud. Proc. Article.
If the injury is not immediately known, victims have 3 years from when the injury is or should have been discovered. But, absent special circumstances, a lawsuit must be filed within 5 years from the date of the malpractice. Common cases where there is a delay in discovering an injury often involve cancer that should have been found earlier.
To make things even more confusing, in cases involving children, the time to bring a lawsuit starts running when the child turns 18 years old regardless of when the injury occurred.
If you think you or a loved one is a victim of medical malpractice you should take action IMMEDIATELY. If your case is past the statute of limitations, no attorney in the world can fix it!
I Don’t Have Any Money to Hire a Lawyer. What Do I Do?
You are in luck! At Potter Burnett Law we handle our personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis. That means the consultation is free and we work on your case without getting paid until you receive a recovery. You do not pay anything unless, and until, we secure a settlement or verdict for you. No money is required upfront so call us today to discuss your case.
** FAQs are not a substitute for legal advice and should not be relied upon. **