Maryland Medical Malpractice Lawyer
The health care industry is a major component of the United States economy, taking in upwards of $3 billion annually. With so much money being spent, people might think that medical diagnoses, treatment, and follow-up would be at least consistently accurate and reasonable. Unfortunately, this is not the reality for many patients. Millions of errors are made by doctors, nurses, and hospitals annually, seriously injuring and even killing innocent victims. The knowledgeable Maryland medical malpractice lawyers at Burgos Law have seen a wide array of medical mistakes destroy the lives of families in Montgomery and Prince George's Counties, as well as Washington, D.C. Contact us if your trust in a medical provider has been called into question by their subsequent actions.Proving a Case of Medical Malpractice
Any personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit can be difficult, but medical malpractice cases are particularly complex. Doctors and other health care professionals do not like to admit that a mistake hurt a patient, even though studies have shown that as many as 10% of all deaths in the United States are caused by a medical error. The reality is that it takes a considerable amount of time and skill to be successful in pursuing a medical malpractice claim.
It takes time because there is a tremendous amount of work involved – starting with investigating the patient’s medical history, going through lengthy discovery, and preparing for a jury trial if the case does not settle out of court. It takes skill because there are so many procedural hurdles and complications that await a malpractice litigant. Even issues such as the statute of limitations, which controls the length of time that a patient has to file a claim, can be much more complex in medical negligence actions than in a car accident case. Not all personal injury lawyers are comfortable or experienced in these claims, so you should make sure to consult a medical malpractice attorney in Maryland who knows how to adeptly navigate the process.
Medical malpractice cases are usually based on negligence. They involve four elements: duty, breach of duty, damages, and causation. This means that the plaintiff needs to prove that the defendant owed them a certain level of care, that the defendant failed to meet that duty, that the plaintiff was hurt, and that the reason for the harm was the defendant’s failure to exercise proper care. What separates medical malpractice cases from many other negligence cases is the requirement for expert proof as to the exact duty of care that was owed to the patient under the circumstances of the case, as well as expert testimony as to whether that duty was breached. A physician or qualified medical professional must be able to review the plaintiff’s medical records and render a professional opinion that the defendant failed to exercise the applicable standard of care.
Finding an expert is not an easy task, and a plaintiff should contact a Maryland medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible after learning of a possible act of medical malpractice so that the case can be investigated and the search for an expert begun. There are many types of medical malpractice – birth injuries, surgical errors, nursing mistakes, medication errors, and misdiagnoses, just to name a few. Lining up the appropriate expert can be a critical yet highly time-consuming task. Additionally, Maryland law requires that plaintiffs file a certificate of merit from a qualified expert, unless the sole issue in the claim is lack of informed consent. Md. Code Ann. Courts and Judicial Proceedings § 3-2A-04(b)(4) requires the plaintiff to file a certificate of a qualified expert attesting to departure from standards of care, and that the departure from standards of care is the proximate cause of the alleged injury. In Maryland, the parties must arbitrate their claims before they are allowed to proceed with a suit in the Circuit Court. However, Md. Code Ann. Courts and Judicial Proceedings § 3-2A-06A. permits the parties to mutually agree to waive arbitration of the claim at any time before the hearing of a claim with the Health Care Alternative Dispute Resolution Office.
Victims of medical malpractice must file their lawsuits in court by the deadline that is referred to as the statute of limitations. Md. Code Ann. Courts and Judicial Proceedings § 5-109 mandates that an action for damages for an injury arising out of the rendering of or failure to render professional services by a health care provider, shall be filed within the earlier of five years of the time the injury was committed; or three years of the date the injury was discovered. There are notable exceptions to this general statute of limitations that include tolling the statute of limitations for a minor so that it does not begin to run until the age of 18. However, even in the case of minors, caution is warranted, in that a lawsuit for wrongful death must be filed within three years of the date of death. Interpretation of the correct statute of limitations in medical malpractice cases in Maryland is complicated, and the often the subject of litigation, so that plaintiffs benefit from consulting with an experienced medical malpractice attorney. Claims filed outside these important limitations periods are likely to be dismissed and the plaintiff left with no legal recourse, regardless of the extent of their injuries.Seek Guidance from a Medical Malpractice Lawyer in Maryland
People who are able to prove that the defendant in a medical malpractice case violated the standard of care and caused harm to the patient may be able to recover substantial monetary compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. At the Maryland law firm of Burgos Law, our attorneys and staff are entirely bilingual in English and Spanish. We will do everything that we can to see that you receive the compensation to which you are entitled. We represent people throughout Montgomery and Prince George's Counties, as well as in Washington, D.C. Many of the victims who have sought our assistance have come from communities such as Silver Spring, Takoma Park, Wheaton-Glenmont, and Hyattsville. Call us at (301) 681-1111 or contact us online for a free consultation.