If you or a loved one has received substandard medical care that has resulted in serious harm or death, you may be feeling a bit bewildered and angry. After all, we tend to seek medical advice and treatment to make things better, not worse. What recourse do you have following a medical incident that caused more harm than good? A Baltimore medical malpractice attorney can answer this, and other questions related to your legal rights.
What is Malpractice?
When medical personnel fail to exercise the duty of care required by their position, it can lead to horrendous outcomes. When injuries occur that can be directly linked to the standard of care provided, it may be deemed medical malpractice.
The Cost of Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice occurs throughout the country at alarming rates. Here’s what we know:
- Between 65,000 and 200,000 people die from medical accidents annually;
- About half of those deaths are a result of negligence;
- More than 50 percent of physicians have been named in a malpractice action, and half of those have been named more than once;
- OBGYNs and surgeons are sued more often than other types of physicians;
- Nearly one-third of lawsuits are settled before a trial even starts.
Reasons for Lawsuits
Data indicates that a number of issues lead to malpractice suits. Negligence is often indicated, resulting in claims against medical personnel. Frequently, issues related to misdiagnoses, medication errors, problems with childbirth, and surgical procedures are at the root of legal issues. Specifically, the following situations have led to legal action in recent years:
- Improper or absent diagnosis: Nearly one-third of lawsuits;
- Complications following surgery: Just over one-fourth of lawsuits;
- Unsatisfactory progression of disease: Nearly one-fourth of lawsuits;
- Treatment delays: 17 percent of lawsuits;
- Abnormal injuries as a result of treatment: Nearly one in ten lawsuits;
- Medication, documentation, and safety errors or failure to obtain informed consent: 10 percent.
Damages Awarded Historically
When damages are awarded, significant sums of money went to plaintiffs:
- Nearly 70 percent of plaintiffs received between $100,000 and $500,000;
- 17 percent received up to $1 million;
- Just over 10 percent received $2 million or more.
Statute of Limitations in Maryland
There are time limits connected to filing medical malpractice lawsuits here in Maryland. Statute 5-109 requires action at whichever of two events occurs first:
- Within five years of the harm occurring;
- Within three years of the harm being discovered.
Caps on Awards
Maryland has placed caps on the amount that may be awarded for non-economic (pain and suffering and other such issues) damages. For lawsuits filed in 2019, that cap rests at $815,000. Economic damages, or those that are quantifiable in terms of medical bills, lost wages, etc., have no cap.
If you have been harmed at the hands of medical providers who erred in their care of you, let the experienced and compassionate team at the Law Office of Hasson D. Barnes, LLC go to bat for you. Contact us in our Baltimore office for a confidential consultation today.