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The Basics of Maryland Medical Malpractice Law

There are a number of types of injuries that could give rise to a medical malpractice claim in Maryland. Birth injury, improper use of anesthesia, and an unnecessary amputation are all potentially valid reasons to file a Maryland malpractice suit.

If you have been injured by a medical professional and believe you have a legitimate medical malpractice claim, you should contact malpractice attorneys for help. Maryland medical malpractice attorneys can help assess your case for its strengths and weaknesses.

In addition, you should also take some time to educate yourself about Maryland malpractice law.

What Is Maryland Malpractice?

Medical malpractice laws are established on a state level. Maryland malpractice laws define what the courts consider medical malpractice.

To win a Maryland medical malpractice case, you must show that the healthcare professional who treated you breached, or violated, the standard of care. A standard of care is the generally accepted procedures and practices used by medical professionals within the same geographic area when treating patients with a particular disease or disorder. The standard of care will vary depending on a number of factors, including the patient's age and medical history.

In addition to showing the doctor breached the standard of care, you must also show this breach is what caused your injuries. A breach of a standard of care can happen at a number of different points during treatment, such as:

  • Misdiagnosing or failing to diagnose a problem
  • Failing to administer treatment properly
  • Prescribing the wrong medication for an illness
  • Failing to inform a patient about the risks of treatment

Statute of Limitations for Maryland Medical Malpractice Cases

Under Maryland medical malpractice law, patients only have a certain amount of time to file a lawsuit against a healthcare professional for committing medical malpractice. This time limit is known as the statute of limitations.

In general, patients must file a medical malpractice claim within either five years from the date that the healthcare professional caused the injury or within three years from when the injury was discovered, whichever happens earlier.

Additionally, there are special limitations placed on minors. For instance, the statute of limitations does not begin to apply to injured patients until they turn 11. This amount of time is extended further if the injury involves either the reproductive system or a foreign object. In such cases, the statute of limitations does not begin to apply until the patient reaches the age of 16.

Because of these strict time limits, it is important that you consult a medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible after you realize an injury has occurred. By waiting too long to file a claim, you may miss the opportunity to file suit.

Types of Medical Malpractice Damages in Maryland

Most states have laws that allow a medical malpractice victim to collect several types of money (called damages) if the medical malpractice claim is decided in his or her favor. Maryland is no exception.

Compensatory damages compensate an injured patient for such things as medical bills and loss of wages due to missed days of work. In additional, Maryland medical malpractice law allows victims to collect non-economic damages, which compensate victims for such things as pain and suffering.

Maryland does, in certain situations, allow injured patients to collect what are known as punitive damages. These damages are awarded to the patient to punish the medical practitioner. To receive punitive damages, you must prove that the healthcare professional did one of a number of things when breaching the standard of care, such as having malicious intent. However, because this rarely happens and because it is difficult to prove, punitive damages are rarely awarded in Maryland medical malpractice cases.

If you have further questions about Maryland malpractice law, contact a local Maryland medical malpractice attorney.