Baltimore Medical Malpractice FAQ
You put your life and health in the hands of your doctors, trusting that they will do their best to take care of you and maintain or improve your quality of life. Unfortunately, sometimes medical care providers act negligently, resulting in severe injuries.
Do you have questions about your legal rights following an incident of medical malpractice? Take a look at the FAQ below or contact a Baltimore medical malpractice attorney to learn more about your right to compensation. Contact our attorney at Spector Law Group for a free consultation about your specific situation. Send an email or call 410-671-5605 today. From our Baltimore office, we represent people in Maryland and Washington D.C.
1. How do I know if I qualify for a Baltimore medical malpractice settlement?
In general, you could qualify for a medical malpractice settlement if:
The doctor caring for you committed negligence in some way. This could include events like:
- Failure to diagnose
- Improper diagnosis
- “Never events” in surgery
- Medication errors
This error caused you to suffer increased pain, unnecessary medical treatment or physical ramifications. Suppose, for example, that your doctor failed to diagnose you with the flu. You went home and recovered on your own, but eventually discovered that you did, in fact, have the flu. Because you suffered no additional damage, you would not have grounds for a medical malpractice claim. On the other hand, if a doctor fails to diagnose you with cancer despite clear signs and symptoms of that specific illness, you may have grounds to file a medical malpractice claim against your doctor.
2. How do I know who to file a Baltimore medical malpractice claim against?
You could file a medical malpractice claim against a practice or practitioner that commits an act of negligence against you that leads to increased pain and suffering.
Most of the time, that means:
- The doctor or caregiver, including nurses and anesthesiologists, specifically provides care and treatment for your injuries.
- The facility that employs that doctor or caregiver, in the case of a hospital.
You may also have grounds to file a medical malpractice claim if medical equipment malfunctions, causing you injury. If, for example, you have a pacemaker that stops working shortly after installation or a hip replacement that degrades quickly and causes more problems than it aimed to prevent, you may have grounds for a medical malpractice claim against the equipment manufacturer. Your doctor must also exercise care when recommending or providing durable medical equipment, and should carefully evaluate any recalls or problems with the equipment before recommending it.
3. Can I file a Baltimore medical malpractice claim against a doctor other than my primary care provider?
You went into the hospital with serious injuries, but the doctor handling your case failed to treat them properly. Perhaps your doctor works as part of a larger network of care providers, all of whom work together to provide care for their patients.
Can you file a medical malpractice claim against other doctors in the practice? Sometimes. You may have grounds to file a claim against other doctors if that doctor also provided care or a direct consultation on your case. On the other hand, you cannot file a claim against a doctor not involved in your treatment or care.
Suppose, for example, that you entered the emergency room with a broken bone. A single doctor looks at your x-rays and declares that you did not break the bone, despite the X-rays clearly showing a break. If another doctor directly consults on your case, you may have grounds to file a medical malpractice claim against each one. On the other hand, you do not have grounds to file a medical malpractice claim against doctors in the emergency room who did not consult on your case.
4. What compensation should I expect for a Baltimore medical malpractice claim?
In a valid medical malpractice claim, you could include compensation for:
- Medical expenses sustained as a result of unnecessary treatment. If your doctor diagnoses the wrong medical condition, despite clear evidence that you have a specific condition, you may include compensation for medical expenses you sustained during improper or unnecessary treatment. If, for example, your doctor diagnosed you with one type of cancer, for which you received chemotherapy when you should have received radiation, you can include that as part of your Baltimore medical malpractice claim.
- Additional medical expenses sustained due to the provider’s negligence. In many cases, you may sustain substantial additional medical expenses due to your provider’s negligence. For example, if your surgeon – during a “never event” in surgery – removes the wrong organ, you may have lifelong medical expenses as a result and could claim compensation for them.
- Wages lost due to the doctor’s error. When your care provider commits an error, you may miss substantially more work than you would have if you did not receive an improper diagnosis. You may suffer more pain and need to miss more work due to follow-up treatments and appointments. Work with your attorney to calculate specific wages lost due to a medical malpractice error and include them as part of your claim.
- Compensation for pain and suffering sustained as a result of medical malpractice. Medical malpractice can leave you in significant physical pain and extend emotional anguish. Suppose, for example, that a doctor fails to diagnose you with a chronic medical condition, although your symptoms show clear evidence of that condition. You may suffer additional physical pain as a result of that failure to diagnose as well as emotional anguish as you struggle to find out what has caused your condition. An attorney can help you calculate how to include pain and suffering as part of your claim.
5. What should I do if I lose a loved one due to a doctor’s error in Baltimore?
If your loved one dies due to a doctor’s negligence, you may have grounds for a wrongful death claim. Most of the time, the family members closest to the deceased have the first right to file a wrongful death claim: the surviving spouse has the first right, followed by any surviving children. If no spouse or children exist, the deceased’s parents may have the right to file a wrongful death claim.
In a wrongful death claim, you could seek compensation for:
- Any additional medical expenses sustained due to medical malpractice.
- Your loved one’s pain and suffering.
- Your loved one’s lost income.
- Compensation for your loved one’s loss in your life.
Consult our attorney to learn whether you have grounds to file a wrongful death claim after the loss of a loved one.
6. My newborn suffered injuries during birth due to the doctor’s errors. Do I have grounds for a Baltimore wrongful death claim?
During the birthing process, both mother and baby face considerable vulnerability. Doctors must monitor the process closely to protect the safety of mother and child alike. Unfortunately, errors do occur during childbirth. Sometimes, doctors put off interventions for too long, failing to take precautions that can help protect mother and baby.
If your infant suffers injuries during the birthing process, you may have grounds to file a medical malpractice claim. Birth injuries can include shoulder dislocation, brain damage due to decreased oxygen flow or injuries to the mother. Consult an attorney to learn whether you have grounds for a claim.
7. I got a call from a Baltimore doctor’s medical malpractice insurance company offering a settlement. Should I take it?
A settlement offer can sound incredibly tempting, especially if you have significant medical bills to contend with. The doctor’s insurance company may also try hard to convince you to accept a settlement offer, even one that does not seem to reflect your financial needs following a serious accident. Following a medical malpractice event, consult an attorney as soon as possible. An attorney could give you a better idea of the compensation you deserve and help you decide when to accept a settlement offer and when to wait before moving forward.
8. Do I need an attorney to file a Baltimore medical malpractice claim?
You should work with an attorney when filing any type of claim, including a wrongful death claim. Often, an attorney can help assess who caused or contributed to your injuries, including identifying more than one party that may share liability for the event that caused your injuries. For example, if a nurse frequently commits medication errors, the hospital that employs them may face liability for a medical malpractice claim. On the other hand, if that nurse works for a staffing company, and the staffing company knows about their history of errors, but continues to work with them, the staffing company may share liability for that act.
An attorney can also help collect evidence that may prove medical malpractice, including connecting you with expert witnesses who can better evaluate the event and determine whether medical malpractice occurred. Further, an attorney could offer you a valuable assessment of the compensation you deserve for your injuries, which can make it easier for you to manage your Baltimore medical malpractice claim. An attorney cannot guarantee the compensation you will ultimately receive but can help you better understand your legal rights.
9. What should I do if I think Baltimore a doctor has committed medical malpractice?
Sometimes, you will know as soon as the event occurred that you faced medical malpractice. For example, when you wake up from surgery after a “never event,” you may already know that you have suffered a serious error in care. On the other hand, after a misdiagnosis or missed diagnosis, you may have no idea that the error occurred until some time later.
If you suspect your doctor of medical malpractice, contact an attorney as soon as possible. You may not want to continue to see that doctor while investigating your medical malpractice claim. In many cases, you may find it more practical to move your care to another doctor.
10. What is a “never event” in Baltimore medical care?
A “never event” includes an event that should never occur in medical practice. Most hospitals and medical care providers have checks and balances to prevent those events. These events usually cause serious damage to a patient that care providers following the right protocols could have prevented.
Never events may include:
- Surgery on the wrong body part.
- Foreign materials left behind after surgery.
- Major medical errors.
- Dangerous medication errors, including prescribing medications a patient has an allergy to or prescribing too much of a medication.
11. How long do I have to file a Baltimore medical malpractice claim?
Due to the nature of medical malpractice, it can take longer for you to discover a doctor’s error than in the case of many serious injuries. For example, if your doctor misdiagnoses your condition or illness, it can take months or, in some cases, even years before you realize your condition and when that misdiagnosis occurred. Luckily, the statute of limitations usually starts running when you find out about the medical malpractice event. Ideally, however, you should contact a Baltimore medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible so you can start working toward a resolution in your case.
12. Who bears liability for a Baltimore medication error?
Most hospitals and care facilities have checks and balances in place that protect against medication errors. Overdosing on many medications can cause serious health consequences. Often, once a doctor writes a prescription, nurses and a pharmacist check it before you receive the medication. In some cases, however, errors still happen. Who bears liability for a medication error may depend on who commits the error.
- Did the doctor prescribe the medication incorrectly? Did the doctor write down the wrong dose or prescribe a medication that caused serious damage to you, the patient?
- Did the pharmacist give you the wrong medication or dose? A weary pharmacist may, for example, grab the wrong dosage of a medication.
- Did a nurse draw up too much of the medication? Many medication errors occur because a nurse fails to properly measure a medication dose, for example.
Talk to your attorney to learn who committed a medical malpractice error if you suffered injuries due to improper medication dosage.
Can I afford a Baltimore medical malpractice lawyer?
Yes, you can. Our medical malpractice attorney accepts new clients on a contingency fee basis. When you enter a contingency fee agreement with us, you do not have to pay an up-front retainer for our attorney’s fees, nor do you have to pay them out-of-pocket. Instead, we deduct a percentage of any compensation you receive for your medical malpractice claim, whether from a settlement or jury award after a court rules in your favor. If we can’t secure a settlement or judgment for you, you will owe us nothing.