If you are considering contacting a Baltimore medical malpractice lawyer because you have concerns about the quality of care you received in a Maryland hospital, you are not alone. Medical mistakes are alarmingly common, and a study conducted by Johns Hopkins in Baltimore found that errors in doctors’ offices and hospitals are the third leading cause of death in the United States.
Despite the risks associated with medical mistakes, doctors and hospitals that make these mistakes cannot be held liable in all cases. To justify a lawsuit, a mistake must rise to the level of medical malpractice.
The experienced attorneys at The Bishop Law Group have extensive experience in these difficult cases. If you suffered at the hands of a negligent doctor, nurse, or other medical professional, our experienced attorneys can help you pursue compensation for your physical, financial, and emotional losses.
5 Steps to Sue Your Doctor and Hospital for Malpractice in Maryland
Step #1: Determining if the Mistake Amounts to a Violation of Maryland’s Standard of Care
The test for determining whether a medical mistake rises to the level of medical practice is whether the mistake amounts to a violation of Maryland’s standard of care. In Maryland, all doctors and hospitals must provide patient care at a level that is consistent with the level of care other doctors and hospitals would provide under similar circumstances.
This means that the same mistakes can give rise to claims in some situations but not others. For example, let’s say a doctor makes a mistake during surgery. If the procedure was scheduled in advance, the doctor had all of the scans and other imagery needed to fully assess the patient’s condition, and the doctor had plenty of time to perform the procedure, Maryland’s standard of care would provide a relatively low margin for error. But, if a patient comes into the ER with a life-threatening condition, the surgeon will only be able to work with the time and information he or she has available, and the acceptable margin for error will be greater.
Step #2: Obtaining a Certificate of Merit from a Qualified Physician
When you hire a Baltimore medical malpractice lawyer to represent you, your attorney will make an initial determination regarding the standard of care based on his or her knowledge and experience. But, to move forward with filing a lawsuit, your attorney will need to obtain what is known as a “certificate of merit.”
A certificate of merit is a written statement from a qualified physician who has assessed your situation and determined that your healthcare provider violated Maryland’s standard of care. Without a certificate of merit from a qualified physician, you won’t be able to sue your doctor and hospital for medical malpractice.
Step #3: Preserving Your Legal Rights
When you have a medical malpractice claim, there are several steps you need to take to preserve your legal rights. This includes meeting multiple deadlines. For example, your attorney must file your certificate of merit within 90 days of filing your initial complaint, and you must file your complaint before Maryland’s medical malpractice statute of limitations expires.
Step #4: Assessing the Value of Your Medical Malpractice Claim
In addition to proving that your doctor and hospital failed to meet Maryland’s standard of care, you must also prove the value of your medical malpractice claim. This means calculating the financial and non-financial costs you have incurred and will incur in the future. Maryland law allows patients to recover all of their direct financial costs (i.e., medical bills and loss of earnings), and it allows patients to recover up to $860,000 (as of 2022) for their pain and suffering, emotional trauma, and other non-financial losses.
Step #5: Participating in (or Waiving Your Right to) Mandatory Arbitration
Under Maryland law, healthcare providers are required to submit to mandatory arbitration for all medical malpractice claims. While this requirement is intended to help streamline the resolution of patients’ malpractice claims, it is more advantageous for patients to pursue their claims in court in many cases. Your medical malpractice attorney will be able to help you decide whether you should pursue this form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) or waive your right to arbitration and fight for just compensation at trial.
The Bishop Law Group helps patients who have received substandard care pursue medical malpractice claims against their doctors and hospitals in Maryland. If you believe negligence played a role in your injuries, we want to hear from you.
To find out if you have a claim, contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation. Call (410) 390-3101 or tell us how we can reach you online to schedule an appointment with a knowledgeable medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible. We serve clients in Baltimore, Ocean City, and other Maryland areas.