Medical malpractice is when a medical professional hurts someone through negligence. This can happen in a lot of different ways. A medical practitioner could misdiagnose a condition or miss signs and symptoms altogether. A doctor could botch a surgery and seriously injure the plaintiff. A doctor could prescribe the wrong medication, but a pharmacist could be the one to give a patient the wrong medication instead after misreading the prescription. In many cases, multiple medical professionals also may have wronged the plaintiff, and the plaintiff may want to go after all of them in court.
Fortunately, Maryland law lets you sue multiple parties in a medical malpractice lawsuit. There are some minor differences that mostly apply to the defendants in lawsuits against multiple parties. You receive damages if you are successful in court, the same as if you were suing one defendant. However, the defendants may fight among themselves, and you may be involved in those lawsuits in some capacity.
Call Rice, Murtha & Psoras’s Maryland medical malpractice lawyers at (410) 694-7291 to get a free case review.
Can You Sue Multiple Parties for Malpractice in Maryland?
You are allowed to sue multiple parties for medical malpractice in Maryland. Under Md. Code, Cts. & Jud. Proc. Art., § 3-1403, “tortfeasors,” or parties that injured the plaintiff (hereafter “codefendants”), are not discharged from liability if one codefendant pays the plaintiff their damages. This is called “joint and several liability.” Joint and several liability means that multiple defendants are liable both as a group (jointly) and individually (severally). Maryland law makes all codefendants joint and severally liable for the plaintiff’s injuries.
Joint and several liability does not make it so that you get multiple damage awards, however. You still get one award of damages, and the defendants can figure out how you get paid that amount.
How Do Medical Malpractice Lawsuits with Multiple Parties Work in Maryland?
When you file a lawsuit against multiple defendants, there are some things that may be different in how the lawsuit plays out. For you, it very well may be that the process will be the same; you are still trying to prove that the defendant(s) are liable. For the defendants, however, things can become different.
When you file a lawsuit against multiple defendants, you are holding them joint and severally liable for your injuries. This means that you are alleging that they are each individually responsible for your injuries and also that they are responsible as a whole. What defendants may do in this situation is try and minimize their impact on your condition. This kind of argument between defendants can lead to lawsuits where one defendant sues the other. In this case, “Defendant A” can try and sue “Befendant B,” alleging that they are really the ones responsible for the plaintiff’s injuries and Defendant B should be paying the plaintiff. Defendant A would be called the “third-party plaintiff,” and Defendant B would be called the “third-party defendant.” Whoever loses that lawsuit will be responsible for paying your damages. However, you will not need to worry about getting compensation because either or both can initially be ordered to pay you. This is something for the defendants to fight among themselves about, not you.
Parties You Can File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Against in MD
Depending on your particular situation, you may be able to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against multiple defendants. Our Baltimore medical malpractice lawyers can work with you to figure out which parties you should sue and which parties you should leave out of your lawsuit.
The most obvious target for a medical malpractice lawsuit would be a doctor. The term “doctor” can refer to practitioners in many fields of medicine, ranging from surgeons to general practitioners to specialists in their given field, like a cardiologist. Accordingly, the ways that a doctor can be responsible for your injuries are vast. They could miss a diagnosis that a medical professional should have made, botch a surgery, or prescribe the wrong medication. The party that you are going to sue will very much depend on your particular medical issue, so speak to our lawyers about your situation.
Hospitals can also be liable in a medical malpractice lawsuit because they employ the medical professionals responsible for the problems, whether that be the nursing staff, lab technicians, or other staff. You can include the hospital that treated you as a defendant if they mixed up your medical charts, you got sick because the building was unsanitary, or for other reasons.
Nurses are sometimes considered part of a doctor’s team when they care for you. You can indeed file a lawsuit against a nurse individually, but circumstances will generally dictate that you file a claim against either the doctor they work under or the hospital they are employed by. Generally, you will sue a hospital under the doctrine of “respondeat superior,” which lets you sue employers for their employees’ negligent acts, but the situation can change depending on circumstances, so you should discuss it with our lawyers.
Medical Equipment Manufacturers
Even medical equipment breaks down sometimes. This can lead to injury if a doctor does not know that a machine is not working how it is supposed to, or if they should have known and did nothing about it. You are able to sue manufacturers for defective equipment. However, you may also be able to sue a doctor if they should have noticed a problem with the equipment, or the hospital if they should have been doing proper maintenance and care on their medical gear but were in fact neglecting to do that.
Some issues are caused by negligent pharmacy teams, which often allows you to sue the individual pharmacist that filled the wrong prescription or otherwise made an error. However, you can often sue the pharmacist itself under the same respondeat superior rules discussed above. If the pharmacy was part of the hospital rather than a separate company, you would be able to sue the hospital for its pharmacy errors.
Talk to Our Maryland Medical Malpractice Lawyers Today
Rice, Murtha & Psoras has Pikesville, MD medical malpractice lawyers ready to discuss your case today when you call (410) 694-7291.