Baltimore Medical Malpractice Lawyer
It’s common for victims of medical malpractice to not realize that their injury was caused or exacerbated by medical error until long after. This is a reason why many people seek the services of Murphy, Falcon & Murphy to lead thorough investigations when there has been an injury or death after a medical procedure.
If you believe you or a loved one has been a victim of medical malpractice, continue reading to find more information regarding medical malpractice claims and then, contact our office to schedule a free consultation with one of Baltimore’s trusted medical malpractice attorneys today.
Types of Medical Malpractice in Maryland
Pursuing a medical malpractice claim can be a very complex with several different areas to prove. There are a variety of types of mistakes that happen regularly in the medical profession, and if you feel you may have been a victim to malpractice and/or medical negligence, it’s very important you seek the legal advice from a skilled medical malpractice attorney with a track record of success. When dealing with medical insurance companies and large corporations, a solid defense is vital to your case. The different types of medical malpractice claims include:
- Misdiagnosis or Delaying Diagnosis. Proper diagnosis can be delayed if a doctor doesn’t order the right test or doesn’t correctly interpret the results of the test ordered. By delaying the diagnosis, the severity of the condition is likely to increase. Not all results of the delay can be reversed, and, in some cases, the delay can lead to premature death. For example, many types of cancer are curable if they are caught and treated in the initial stages. If cancer is not diagnosed promptly or if it’s misdiagnosed, it can grow and spread to other parts of the body and reach a stage that’s incurable.
- Medication Errors. When a doctor prescribes a medication, the order is sent to the pharmacy and the pharmacist provides the medication to the patient, a nurse, or other healthcare provider. Errors in this stage can occur in many ways, including a pharmacist or nurse administering the wrong medication, wrong medication being ordered by the doctor, incorrect instructions printed on the medication label, patient is allergic to medication ordered, pharmacist fills order incorrectly, wrong medication is given to the client, incorrect dosage is given to the patient.
- Surgical Mistakes. Every surgery has risks associated with it. Standards of care have been established for the specific purpose of minimizing risk and maximizing benefit. If these standards of care are not followed, surgical mistakes can occur. Examples of surgical mistakes include: performing surgery on the wrong part of the body or leaving foreign objects inside the body.
- Defective or Mishandled Medical Equipment. The purpose of medical equipment is to enhance health and safety for the patient. When a medical device is defective, it can impose the opposite effect and cause harm to the patient. It’s also possible for medical equipment that’s operating properly to be mishandled by the person operating it. Serious harm can result from medical equipment that’s used improperly.
- Labor and Delivery Errors. Childbirth should be a joyous time. Sometimes it can turn into a dangerous situation for mother and child. If a medical professional doesn’t properly diagnose a condition during pregnancy or fails to recognize signs of danger during labor and delivery, the mother and the child may suffer life-long debilitating effects. In some cases, one or both could die.
Malpractice vs. Negligence
Medical malpractice may be a form of negligence, but the two terms do not mean exactly the same things in the eyes of the law. Below we explain the difference between Negligence and Malpractice.
- Negligence refers to a lack of due care, inattentiveness, or a deviation from the reasonable standard of care for a situation.
- Malpractice, on the other hand, specifically refers to standards of care between a professional and his/her clients, customers, patients, etc. Anyone can be guilty of negligence, but only professionals can be guilty of malpractice.
The Maryland courts define “malpractice” as the failure of a professional (of any kind) to act in accordance with the industry’s accepted standards. Malpractice can also refer to the failure to foresee the consequences of actions as a “reasonable and prudent” professional would have been able to do. If you aren’t sure whether you have a negligence or malpractice claim, ask yourself if the defendant was an on-duty professional who owed you a duty of care at the time of the incident
One of the elements you will need to prove for a malpractice claim is that a professional relationship existed between the medical professional and the plaintiff. For a claim against a doctor, for instance, you will need proof a doctor-patient relationship existed at the time of the alleged harm or wrongdoing. You likely would not have a case against a doctor who gave you advice at a cocktail party, but you would if you were a patient at his or her clinic. Malpractice could come down not only to the liability of the individual, but to a manager, supervisor, or employer as well.
Statute of Limitations on Malpractice Claims
An important question in medical malpractice cases is what is the statute of limitations. In Maryland, the statute is three years. A person has three years to bring a medical malpractice claim from the date of the injury, or from when the patient knew or should have known about the injury.
If for some reason, the patient is unaware that he or she was the subject of medical malpractice, the patient in Maryland has five years to bring a claim. If for some reason the patient discovers the injury, for example, five and a half years later, it’s too late.
Therefore, it’s very important if you think you have a medical malpractice claim to contact a Baltimore injury attorney immediately, investigate the validity of your claim and to file as soon as possible. Once the statute of limitation expires, there is nothing you will be able to do about it
Evaluating the Cause of Medical Error
There are a variety of reasons that medical errors occur. Frequently, they are associated with:
- Poor record-keeping. Doctors and can miss critical medical history details without careful record-keeping in place.
- Inadequate communication. Hospital, administrative, and medical staff all need to communicate about patient care.
- Understaffing. Hospitals and facilities can be chronically understaffed. Staff who are overworked are more likely to ignore proper procedures and cut corners.
- Fatigue. Doctors and nurses are required to work long hours. Fatigue can interfere with decision-making skills.
- Alcohol or drug use. The high-stress environment that medical professionals work in can increase the incidence of alcohol and drug dependency among staff.
Thousands of people die every year because of preventable medical errors. The attorneys at Murphy, Falcon & Murphy understand that mistakes happen, but we also understand that medical professionals must be held to a higher standard because we put our lives in their hands. Although we can’t fix the mistakes that caused your personal injury, we can make sure that you get the compensation that you deserve. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.
What to Do If You Are a Victim of Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice is a serious tort that can injure and kill unsuspecting patients. As a patient who might be the victim of medical malpractice in Maryland, it is up to you to protect your rights. Taking swift action against the alleged defendant is crucial. Reporting the physician and contacting a lawyer right away can ensure you do not miss any important deadlines or filing requirements. Take the following steps toward financial compensation if you believe you have a medical malpractice case.
1. Protect Your Personal Health
Put your health and safety first. Do not continue receiving care from the physician or healthcare center you suspect of medical malpractice. Switch physicians, making sure to migrate your health and treatment records. You do not need to tell your existing physician the reason for the switch. Your new doctor can act immediately to correct the medical mistake and get you back on track for proper treatment. A new doctor will protect your health while you spend time handling the rest of your medical malpractice case.
2. Follow the New Treatment Plan
Following your new physician’s orders is important for your health and wellness as well as to the outcome of your case. Make sure you keep copies of your treatment-related documents and prescriptions and provide them to your attorney if requested.
3. Gather Information
Building your case is something your lawyer can do, but it helps if you begin the process early on. Request copies of all your medical records from your previous doctor or healthcare center. Your records will have detailed information about the practitioners you saw and the treatment you received. Document your experience in as much detail as possible, keeping a record of who handled your patient care, what happened, and what you suspect went wrong. Describe your symptoms, injuries, or illness. The more information you document about your case, the stronger it will be later.
4. Start Learning Your Rights
As the victim of a preventable personal injury, you have rights in Maryland. Start to research these rights with help from a lawyer. Your rights as a patient include the power to expect high standards of care from your physician. A breach of duty of care, that causes injury, is grounds for a medical malpractice case. Also learn important facts about bringing a medical malpractice case in the state, such as your statute of limitations on filing. A conversation with one of our attorneys can help you understand clearly what your rights are.
5. Hire an Attorney
Once you have received the quality healthcare you need and collect information about your case, contact an attorney. Our Baltimore firm offers free, zero-obligation consultations so you can get the information and answers you need free of charge. We want to help you explore your rights and take action against the allegedly at-fault doctor or hospital. A lawyer can investigate your case, identify who may be liable, and help you preserve and collect key evidence. A lawyer can also take over communications with the defendant and his/her attorneys and an insurance company.
6. Focus on Your Health While Your Case is Underway
After hiring a lawyer, you will not have to worry about the legalities of your lawsuit. Your attorney will handle the legwork of your case while you focus on healing. You will not have to – and you should not – contact the allegedly at-fault doctor again. Your lawyer will handle all interactions with the physician and/or healthcare center on your behalf. This will ensure that your rights and best interests stay protected during the legal process. Contacting other parties involved could hurt your case, not help. You should also avoid posting about your injuries or lawsuit on social media.
Lawyers Specialized in Medical Malpractice
It is not easy to secure a settlement or judgment against a prominent Baltimore doctor or health care facility. You need a lawyer you can feel confident about representing you. Choosing the right lawyer for you and your case may take a few free consultations with prospects before making your decision. First, make sure the law firm specializes in medical malpractice. If it doesn’t, it might not have the experience or resources necessary for the best possible outcome. Then, look for the following signs of a top attorney:
- Past case results. Scan the firm’s website or the internet for evidence that the firm has won medical malpractice claims in the past. Search for results pages, client testimonials, or articles about the firm in the news. A history of success can prove the firm knows what it’s doing when it comes to medical malpractice claims.
- Positive reviews. While you’re searching through the firm’s background, look for signs that clients were happy with the way the firm handled their claims. Check for reviews and testimonials to see what to expect from the experience. Look for warm, honest, and personal attorneys who care about your case.
- Personal touch. No two medical malpractice claims are alike. Your lawyer should not take a turnkey approach to represent you. Instead, your lawyer should be able to create a personal, custom-tailored strategy for your case. Look for a boutique law firm with the time to dedicate to your case or a larger firm with plenty of personal attention.
Murphy, Falcon & Murphy has everything you’re looking for in a suitable attorney and more. Our firm has helped medical malpractice victims throughout Maryland for over 70 years. We have a long history of successful case outcomes, a unique approach to litigation, and we truly care about each and every one of our clients. Find out why we’re right to represent your medical malpractice case during a no-cost consultation with one of our lawyers. We specialize in all types of medical malpractice claims, injuries, and wrongful death.