In the complex world of healthcare, mistakes can happen. When those errors lead to harm or injury, it’s crucial to have someone on your side who understands the legal intricacies involved.
That’s where a Bowie medical malpractice lawyer comes in to advocate for those affected by medical negligence.
Understanding What Medical Negligence Is
Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare professional fails to provide an acceptable standard of care, causing harm to a patient. Malpractice comes in many forms, from misdiagnoses and surgical errors to prescription mistakes or staff negligence.
It’s important to note that not every negative outcome in healthcare is due to medical malpractice or negligence, and for your case to be successful, it must be proven that the healthcare provider’s actions or negligence directly caused harm.
You must also be aware of your state’s statute of limitations in medical malpractice cases. This is the timeframe within which a legal action must be initiated.
A medical malpractice lawyer, or (by broader definition) a personal injury lawyer, is well-versed in these requirements and limitations and can ensure that all required paperwork and evidence are filed correctly and within the approved time frame.
Maryland Medical Malpractice Laws
There are some key legal requirements in the state of Maryland regarding medical malpractice that you should be aware of. Three of these are:
Certificate of Qualified Expert
Once you’ve filed a medical malpractice claim, you have 90 days to file a Certificate of Qualified Expert.
In this legal document, a qualified medical expert swears under oath that they’ve reviewed your malpractice claim and professionally agree that:
- Your health care provider(s) failed to meet an accepted medical standard of care in your diagnosis or treatment, and
- that failure was directly responsible for your illness or injuries
If you don’t file this certificate within the 90-day time limit, your claim will likely be dismissed.
Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims is found in the Maryland Code, Courts & Judicial Proceedings, section 5-109. This section states that a medical malpractice claim can only be filed within five years of the date of injury or no more than three years after the injury was discovered, whichever comes first.
Medical Malpractice Compensation Caps
Maryland places a maximum financial “cap” on some types of malpractice compensation following a successful medical malpractice claim. The cap limit (Section 3-2A-09) can vary based on when the injury happened. For injuries that happened in 2022, the cap is $860,000. That limit increases by $15,000 each year for every year following.
The Role of a Medical Malpractice Lawyer
A medical malpractice lawyer is a legal professional with expertise in healthcare law, specializing in cases where individuals have suffered due to medical negligence. Their primary role is to advocate for the rights of the affected party, seeking compensation for damages incurred as a result of the malpractice.
- Investigation and case evaluation: The first step in a medical malpractice case is thorough investigation and evaluation. A skilled lawyer will review your medical records, consult with experts, and assess whether the healthcare provider breached the standard of care. This process requires a deep understanding of medical procedures, making the lawyer a crucial bridge between the legal and medical worlds.
- Building a strong case: Once the lawyer establishes that medical malpractice likely occurred, they begin building a strong case. This involves gathering evidence, including medical records, expert opinions, and any relevant documentation. The lawyer’s goal is to demonstrate the link between the healthcare provider’s negligence and the harm you’ve suffered.
- Navigating complex legal procedures: Medical malpractice cases involve navigating complex legal procedures, and a medical malpractice lawyer serves as a guide through this maze. They file necessary paperwork, adhere to legal deadlines, and ensure the case follows the appropriate legal channels. This meticulous approach is vital in seeking justice for you and your family.
- Negotiation and settlement: In many cases, medical malpractice claims are settled out of court through negotiation. A skilled medical malpractice lawyer uses their expertise to engage in meaningful negotiations with the defendant’s legal team or insurance company. The goal is to secure a fair settlement that fully compensates you for medical expenses, lost income, and any pain and suffering without the need for a protracted court battle.
- Trial representation: If a fair settlement can’t be reached through negotiation, the case may proceed to trial. Your lawyer then becomes your advocate in the courtroom, presenting evidence, questioning witnesses, and making legal arguments. Their goal is to convince a judge and jury that the healthcare provider’s negligence directly caused you harm, leading to a favorable verdict for your case.
- Compensation and damages: Successful medical malpractice trials typically result in compensation. This compensation can cover various damages, including medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, lost wages, and restitution for pain and suffering. Your medical malpractice lawyer plays a crucial role in ensuring that you receive fair and just compensation for the harm endured.In addition to stress-inducing legal complexities, medical malpractice cases often have a profound emotional impact on victims and their families, as well. This is on top of the trauma that can result from your injury or neglect.
Your medical malpractice attorney provides not just legal expertise but also emotional support, guiding you through this challenging process with empathy and understanding.
The Importance of Expert Witnesses
Medical malpractice cases can hinge on expert testimony.
A medical malpractice lawyer will collaborate with healthcare professionals who can provide expert opinions on the accepted standard of care, how a healthcare provider failed to provide that standard, and the resulting harm to the victim.
These expert witnesses play a pivotal role in strengthening your case and helping the judge and jury understand the complexities of medical procedures.
Preventing Future Negligence
One often overlooked aspect of medical malpractice cases is their role in preventing future negligence.
By holding healthcare providers accountable for their actions or negligence, these cases contribute to a culture of accountability and continuous improvement in healthcare practices. Medical malpractice lawyers partner with you to, in a sense, become advocates for systemic change, working towards a safer and more accountable healthcare system.
When it comes to your healthcare, a medical malpractice attorney serves as a crucial ally if you’ve suffered due to negligence.
At GDH Law, our malpractice attorneys have the experience and expertise to navigate these legal complexities, along with a deep understanding of related medical procedures and the law. This uniquely positions them as invaluable advocates in fighting for justice.
A Bowie medical malpractice lawyer will play a pivotal role not only in seeking your best compensation but also in ensuring that our healthcare system prioritizes accountability and patient safety.
Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your medical rights and potential compensation.