Hagerstown, MD Medical Malpractice Lawyer
We place great trust in medical professionals when we task them with our care. Most of the time, doctors do their job and do it very well. Unfortunately, even highly trained medical professionals can make mistakes. The consequences of such mistakes can be catastrophic. A medical procedure could result in severe complications because of a doctor’s negligence.
Our experienced attorneys can help you with every step of your medical malpractice claim. We can interview medical personnel, collect relevant evidence, and argue for an appropriate financial recovery in a court of law on your behalf.
Call Rice, Murtha & Psoras today at (410) 694-7291 to speak with our medical malpractice lawyers about your case.
What is Medical Malpractice in Hagerstown, MD?
Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor or other medical provider fails to live up to the professional standard of care they are supposed to maintain. A medical malpractice claim argues that the medical professional’s negligence on the job is directly responsible for the plaintiff’s injuries.
A botched surgery, recommending or administering the wrong type or dosage of medication, and discharging a patient from a hospital too early are all examples of medical malpractice. Our medical malpractice lawyers can help you get the compensation you are entitled to after a medical malpractice injury.
How Long Do You Have to File a Medical Malpractice Claim in Hagerstown, MD?
The statute of limitations for a medical malpractice claim in Maryland is three years per Md. Code, Cts. & Jud. Proc. Art., § 5-109. After that time, your window to recover damages has closed.
However, the timer starts from when you discover the injury, not from when the injury actually occurred. In these instances, you have up to five years from the time you were injured to discover it, and then three years file a lawsuit. For example, if a surgeon causes internal damage during an operation, but you do not find out about it for two years, your timer starts when you find out about the injury, not from the day of the surgery. There is, however, a final limit at five years from the date of injury, even if you don’t discover the injury until you are nearly at that five year limit.
Elements to Prove in a Medical Malpractice in Hagerstown, MD
You need to prove four main elements to succeed in a medical malpractice claim in Maryland. First, you need to establish the relevant standard of care the medical professional is supposed to adhere to. Second, you must prove that the medical professional did not adhere to that standard of care. Third, you must prove that the medical practitioner’s negligence is the proximate cause of your injury. Finally, you must prove that you were actually injured.
Establishing the Standard of Care
To prove that a doctor or other medical professional did not do their job well, you have to tell the court what proper, reasonable care should look like. Usually, this requires getting an expert witness to tell the judge and jury what, in their opinion, a responsible doctor with comparable training and experience should do in a situation like yours.
Of course, your side will not be the only one with an expert witness. The defendant’s lawyer will also have an expert witness on hand, likely arguing the opposite of what your expert witness does. A so-called “battle of experts” will take place, where both legal teams try to convince the court that their expert is correct and the other expert is not.
Our attorneys can help secure qualified experts to argue your side of the case.
Proving that the Standard of Care was Violated
Once a standard of care is established, you need to prove that the medical professional tending to you did not perform up to that standard. To establish that the medical professional did not meet the standard of care, you need to show how their care was unreasonable or inappropriate given the circumstances at hand.
The causation element requires that you prove the medical professional’s breach of the standard of care was both the direct or proximate cause of your injuries. For example, if you can prove that a surgeon did not stitch a would back together properly because they were in a hurry, they were the direct cause of your injuries. Proximate cause, however, can be more challenging to prove. In law, a proximate cause is when the cause is closely related enough to be the legal cause of injury.
Opposing counsel will try and cast doubt on your arguments about causation. For example, they could argue that you had a preexisting condition before medical treatment that caused your injury or that you did not follow the doctor’s advice and, as a result, did not recover properly.
You need to prove that you were injured to recover damages. It may sound obvious, but if you were not injured, the court does not have anything to compensate you for.
One way to prove damages that is unique to medical malpractice is a lost chance to get timely treatment. For example, if you had early-stage cancer, but a negligent doctor did not diagnose it and the cancer then progresses to stage four, you could get compensation for the lost chance at treatment.
Settling a Hagerstown, MD Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
Many medical malpractice claims settle before going to trial. A settlement is when both sides of a lawsuit come to an agreement and voluntarily dismiss all court claims. Settlements can be beneficial to both parties since the plaintiff will still get financial compensation, and the defendant will not be found liable in a court of law. Since settlements tend to be worked out faster than a fully-fledged trial, both sides save on court costs and legal fees.
Medical malpractice cases do not always go to trial. Often, the case will settle beforehand. We are ready to help you through either eventuality to try and get you what you need. Our job is to “win” your medical malpractice claim. That means getting the maximum financial compensation available, regardless of whether your case goes all the way to trial or settles earlier.
Reach Out to Our Hagerstown, MD Medical Malpractice Lawyers for a Free Case Review
Call (410) 694-7291 to get a free case review from the medical malpractice lawyers at Rice, Murtha & Psoras.