Medical Negligence – The Basis Of Your Malpractice Claim
In Maryland and throughout the U.S., all healthcare providers have a duty to treat their patients using the accepted best practices of their chosen field. When a doctor, nurse, obstetrician, or other healthcare provider fails to follow the standards of their industry and a patient gets injured, that healthcare provider may be considered medically negligent.
Basically, if another doctor with the same qualifications reviews the medical evidence and determines that they would have handled your child’s birth differently, your healthcare provider could be considered negligent.
For example, if you underwent a vaginal birth when a c-section would have been safer in your situation, or if an obstetrician made a mistake with a tool like a vacuum extractor, you’d likely have grounds for a malpractice lawsuit.
Proving negligence is the most important part of any medical malpractice claim. Don’t worry if you’re not sure of the cause of your baby’s injury – most people aren’t. This is why it’s important to ask for assistance from an experienced Maryland birth injury lawyer who has contacts in the medical community.
Types Of Damages Available In A Birth Injury Lawsuit
In a Maryland birth injury lawsuit, your family can recover financial compensation for two types of damages:
- Economic – Economic damages cover direct financial expenses related to your child’s injury, including: medical bills, occupational and other therapies, adaptive devices like wheelchairs and braces, home renovations, handicap-accessible vehicles, loss of earning potential, and more. Basically, anything that costs money is covered under economic damages
- Non-economic – Non-economic damages cover the less tangible aspects of a birth injury, and are more subjective. Examples of these damages include things like pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of quality of life, etc.
It’s difficult to estimate how much your birth injury case may be worth without first having it carefully reviewed by both medical and legal professionals who specialize in these types of cases.
Maryland’s Medical Malpractice Laws
If you’ve been considering a birth injury malpractice lawsuit, you may be wondering how Maryland malpractice laws could influence your claim. It can be helpful to know what to expect, but know that these laws are complicated. How they may affect your claim varies depending on the unique circumstances of your case.
Statute Of Limitations
Each state has their own deadline for filing a medical malpractice lawsuit. In Maryland, for cases involving minors, the clock for this deadline does not begin running until the child’s 11th birthday. If the injury involves a foreign object, this time limit begins at age 16.
Certificate Of Merit
In Maryland, medical malpractice plaintiffs are required to file a certificate of merit from a qualified medical expert within 90 days of filing a medical malpractice complaint. This certificate of merit must list the plaintiff’s specific injury, the healthcare provider’s alleged negligence, what the healthcare provider could have done to meet their industry’s standard of care, and must state that medical negligence was a main cause of the plaintiff’s injury.
Caps On Damages
Maryland state law limits the amount of financial compensation you can recover in a medical malpractice case. As of 2015, this limit was set at $740,000 for non-economic damages. Determining how much your case may be worth requires a careful and detailed review by medical experts and an experienced Maryland birth injury lawyer.
Medical Expert Requirements
Testimony from medical experts is an important part of any malpractice claim. In order to be considered a qualified medical expert in Maryland, the witness must be a licensed professional in the same discipline as the doctor who the claim has been filed against. He or she must also have knowledge of the accepted standard of care in this field. Finally, the medical expert cannot have a financial interest in the claim (such as owning stock in the same company as the defendant).
How A Lawsuit Can Help Your Family
For most families, the costs of raising a child with a birth injury exceed their current budget. Your average middle class family simply can’t afford to pay for all of the support their child will need on their own. This is why it’s so important for families affected by birth injuries to speak with an experienced birth injury lawyer in their state.
A lawsuit can help provide your child with all the financial support he or she needs for the direct financial costs of the injury. Additionally, it can help compensate your family for other non-economic damages you face, and can hold negligent medical professionals responsible for their mistakes.
In order to make sure your child gets the help they need in a timely manner, it’s best to take legal action immediately following a birth injury, if possible. Our experienced Maryland birth injury lawyers can handle all legal aspects of your case on your behalf, so you can focus on spending time with your child and loved ones. To begin exploring your legal options, contact us today for a free consultation.
If you’re looking for answers to some common birth injury questions, you can find them in our birth injury FAQ page.