Maryland Medical Malpractice: Laws, Claims and Damages
UPDATED: March 7, 2012
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MARYLAND MEDICAL MALPRACTICE
If a health care provider in Maryland injures a patient by treating them below the industry standard of care, they are medically negligent. When a Maryland health care provider is medically negligent, the injured party may file a claim for medical malpractice. If you believe that you have been injured as a result of the negligent acts of a health care provider, contact a Maryland medical malpractice attorney immediately. Claims for medical malpractice can arise from:
- Errors in prescribing medication;
- Improper treatment;
- Unreasonable delay in treatment or diagnosis;
- Misdiagnosis, most commonly seen with cancer or heart attack misdiagnoses;
- Failure to diagnose;
- Injuries during birth.
Who Can Be Sued in a Maryland Medical Malpractice Case?
Any Maryland health care provider can be held liable for medical malpractice. Maryland defines a health care provider as an individual or entity authorized to provide one or more medical or health care services. This definition of a health care provider includes hospitals, doctors, optometrists, chiropractors, nurses, licensed social workers, clinics, or medical groups. If you believe that you have been injured by a health care provider, but are unsure if they fall into Maryland’s definition, you should speak to a medical malpractice attorney.
Maryland Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations
To bring a suit against a health care provider for medical malpractice, you must file your claim within the statute of limitations. In Maryland, a claim for medical malpractice must be filed either within the three years after the date that the injury was discovered, or five years after the negligent act, whichever is sooner. However, there are exceptions to this general rule for young minors. If a minor under the age of eleven is a victim of medical negligence, the statute of limitations does not begin to run until the minor reaches the age of eleven. After that point, the normal rules apply as above.
If you fail to file your claim within the statute of limitations, your claim will be lost, along with the possibility of recovery for your injuries. For this reason, it is extremely important to speak with a Maryland medical malpractice attorney as soon as you believe you have been injured by the medical negligence of a health care provider.
Caps on Medical Malpractice Claims in Maryland
In Maryland, economic and noneconomic damages may be awarded for a medical malpractice action. Noneconomic damages include losses for disfigurement, pain and suffering, and loss of companionship. However, recovery for these types of damages is limited. If the negligent act causing the injury happened between July 1, 1986 and October 1, 1994, then the injured party is only allowed to recover up to $350,000 in noneconomic damages. However, if the action for personal injury or wrongful death occurred on or after October 1, 1994, the plaintiff may recover up to $500,000 in noneconomic damages. This maximum increases $15,000 every October 1, beginning as of October 1, 1995. Therefore, as of October 1, 2010, the maximum amount of recoverable noneconomic damages for a medical malpractice claim is $740,000.
If the Maryland health care provider has acted willfully or wantonly in their negligent act or omission, a plaintiff may recover punitive damages as well. A medical malpractice attorney will help the injured party in determining what types of damages, and how much, should be recovered in their claim.
Filing a Maryland Medical Malpractice Claim
Medical malpractice claims in Maryland are extremely complex to negotiate and litigate, and should not be filed without the help of a medical malpractice attorney. The attorney will assist you in identifying all potential defendants for your claim, such as the individual at fault, their employer, and/or the manufacturer of the medical equipment that harmed you. Further, the legal team for the defense is generally made up of knowledgeable and experienced insurance attorneys who will put on a strong case for the health care provider. Guiding a successful Maryland medical malpractice claim also requires taking depositions and interviewing expert witnesses to support your claim of medical malpractice. Any mistake along the way could mean dismissal of your case and loss of the potential for recovery. For these reasons, it is important that you have an experienced Maryland medical malpractice attorney on your side to guide you through the process of a medical malpractice suit.
Maryland Medical Malpractice Laws
- Courts and Judicial Proceedings: Healthcare Malpractice Claims: Definitions: Title 3, §2A-01.
- Courts and Judicial Proceedings: Limitations, Prohibited Actions and Immunities: Actions Against Healthcare Providers: Title 5, §109.
- Courts and Judicial Proceedings: Judgments: Limitation on Noneconomic Damages: Title 11, §108.