Miller & Zois has some of the most highly regarded and successful Maryland medical malpractice lawyers. Our attorneys have made tens of millions of dollars for our client successfully litigating medical malpractice cases throughout Maryland and Washington, DC. We care and we can help you.
The purpose of this page is to tell you what you need to know to make the right decisions to maximize your medical malpractice settlement amount or jury payout. You only have one medical malpractice case. Our malpractice lawyers tell you what you need to know to make sure get the most money possible.
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What is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice is the legal term for negligent care or treatment by a doctor, hospital, nurse or other licensed healthcare provider resulting in injury to a patient. Negligent care or treatment by a doctor or medical professional can result in catastrophic injury and life-altering consequences for the victim.
To bring a valid medical malpractice lawsuit, a plaintiff in Maryland will need to establish 3 basic elements:
- the defendant’s treatment fell below the minimum “standard of care” for medical professionals under the circumstances,
- the plaintiff suffered actual physical injuries, and
- the defendant’s failure to meet the “standard of care” was a direct and proximate result of the plaintiff’s physical injuries.
Proving these elements in a medical malpractice case is difficult and expensive. To establish the applicable standard of medical care and that the defendant breached it, the plaintiff needs to get a formal opinion from a qualified medical expert witness.
A qualified medical expert generally means another doctor or someone with the same qualifications as the defendant.
Even if the plaintiff finds another doctor or qualified expert to support their claims, the defendant will counter that with his or her own expert witness.
The defense expert will say that the standard of care was not breached or dispute that it was the cause of the plaintiff’s injuries.
What are Your Chances of Winning a Medical Malpractice Claim?
If you are able to find medical malpractice attorney to take your case and get an expert opinion to support your claims, your chances of getting some compensation for your malpractice claim are very good.
Statistically, around 7 out of 10 medical malpractice claims result in financial compensation to the plaintiff.
Nationally, around 71% of medical malpractice lawsuits that get filed in court end up being resolved with some type of out-of-court settlement before going to trial. Just 12-15% of all medical malpractice cases go all the way to trial. So 1 out of every 10 malpractice plaintiffs will never have to go to court.
For the small segment of malpractice cases that do actually go to trial, however, the odds are stacked heavily against the plaintiff. Defendants win about 80% of the time in medical malpractice trials.
The Maryland medical malpractice lawyers at Miller & Zois have established significantly higher success rates compared to these national averages. We settle a higher percentage of our malpractice cases before trial and we have a solid winning record for those we do take to trial.
Settlement Value of Maryland Medical Malpractice Cases
Medical malpractice lawsuits have a much higher average settlement value compared to regular personal injury claims. Malpractice cases typically involve more serious injuries and the liabilities are generally covered by large insurance policies.
In the U.S., the average settlement range for medical malpractice claims is $305,000 to $382,000. The median settlement value for medical malpractice claims is somewhat lower at $249,500. The average verdict amount for malpractice cases that go to trial (and win) is slightly over $1 million.
These averages are based on national case data. The average settlement value for Maryland medical malpractice lawsuits is $396,500 – $469,600. This is about 30% higher compared to the national average. The average settlement value is even higher in certain Maryland jurisdictions. Malpractice cases in Baltimore, MD have an average value that is 44% higher than the national average.
Common Types of Malpractice Claims
Medical negligence can occur in an almost infinite variety of ways and circumstances. There are specific types of negligent medical care that account for most medical malpractice claims. Each of these categories of common medical malpractice claims are outlined below.
Negligent misdiagnosis, failure to diagnose, or delay in diagnosis is the most common type of medical malpractice. Diagnosing health conditions accurately and timely is the primary function and responsibility of any doctor.
When a doctor fails to diagnose a condition, such as cancer, it can result in a dangerous delay in medical treatment and allow the disease to spread or become terminal. Similarly, if a doctor incorrectly misdiagnosis a patient’s medical condition they may end up getting unnecessary medical treatment instead of the potentially life-saving treatment that they actually need.
Negligence during labor and delivery frequently causes tragic injuries to the baby, such as cerebral palsy, which can leave them disabled for the rest of their life. A very large percentage of these birth injuries are preventable and they often result due to sloppy or negligent care during the labor and delivery process.
There are a handful of obstetric delivery complications that arise before or during childbirth. When these situations occur, the OB/GYN and delivery team at the hospital have a very short window of time in which to intervene and prevent injury to the baby. Examples of the type of delivery complications that lead to birth injuries include: placental abruption, uterine rupture, shoulder dystocia, and many others.
Surgical errors are the second most common type of medical malpractice. There is always some level of risk with any major surgery and there is no guarantee of good outcomes. Surgical malpractice occurs when the surgeon makes a mistake (e.g., removes the wrong organ), or negligently performs the surgery with a lack of skill or care causing injury to the patient.
Examples of common surgical errors include: lap chole bile duct injuries, nerve damage during splenectomy, and wrong surgical site injuries. The category of surgical malpractice also includes cases involving negligent post-surgical care (e.g., failure to prevent infection) and negligence in connection with non-surgical medical procedures.
Emergency Room Errors
Emergency room errors are another very common source of medical malpractice claims and they include any type of medical negligence occurring in the emergency room. Most emergency room medical malpractice cases involve some type of diagnostic error resulting in delayed diagnosis of a more serious condition.
ER doctors work in difficult situations and they are used to overreacting patients. This invariably leads to a tendency not to take anything seriously and dismiss patients without full diagnostic testing. The delayed diagnosis of the patient’s actual condition can often have very devastating consequences.
Medication errors occur when doctors, pharmacists, or other medical professionals prescribe the wrong drugs or negligently administer medication resulting in serious injury to a patient. There are generally 3 types of medication errors that generate malpractice claims:
- Incorrect Medication: occurs when the doctor prescribes the wrong drug, the pharmacy dispenses the wrong drug, or in a hosptial setting where the nurses or other health care professionals administer the wrong drug.
- Dangerous Drug Combination: occurs when the patient is given two different drugs which dangerously interact with each other. This can be the fault of either the pharmacy or the prescribing doctor(s).
- Side-Effects: doctors are supposed to be aware of the potential side-effects of medication to ensure that the risks of the drug do not outweigh its benefit to the patient.
Hiring a Maryland Medical Malpractice Lawyer
If you want to sue a licensed health care provider in Baltimore, MD, you will need to hire a good Maryland medical malpractice lawyer. Medical malpractice claims are extremely complicated and they require specialized legal representation. Not all Maryland personal injury lawyers are qualified to handle a medical malpractice case. You need an experienced medical malpractice attorney.
A Maryland medical malpractice lawyer can help get formal opinions from qualified experts which are required in order to file a medical malpractice case under Maryland law. A good medical malpractice law firm usually has a network of medical professionals in various fields. This network of medical professionals willing to serve as experts can be an invaluable resource to getting your medical malpractice case off the ground.
Medical Malpractice Settlements & Verdicts
Below are summaries of settlements and verdicts from recent Maryland medical malpractice cases.
- 2021, Montgomery County: $1,149,924 Verdict. A 20-something man suffered diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea. His gastrointestinal tests were negative. The man was diagnosed with gastroesophageal reflux. Several months later, he was diagnosed with a heart murmur. The man presented to a cardiologist. He was diagnosed with a heart infection. The man underwent a valve replacement. He alleged negligence against his physician. The man claimed she failed to timely diagnose his condition and order extensive tests. A Montgomery County jury awarded $1,149,924.
- 2021, Montgomery County: $1,502,364 Verdict. An expectant mother went into labor. She presented to Shady Grove Medical Center’s ER. The woman was admitted. Nine hours later, fetal heart monitoring revealed hypoxia. An emergency C-section was performed. The obstetrician observed a uterine rupture. The baby was delivered deceased. His mother alleged negligence against Shady Grove Medical Center. She claimed its obstetrician improperly managed the delivery, failed to appreciate fetal distress signs, and failed to timely perform an emergency C-section. The Montgomery County jury awarded $1,502,364.
- 2021, Baltimore City: $34,770,292 Verdict. A boy was born at Harbor Hospital. He suffered severe brain damage. The boy developed spastic quadriplegia. He was non-verbal and could not walk, feed, or dress himself. The boy used a gastrostomy tube. His mother alleged that the hospital staff’s negligent care caused his injuries. She claimed they failed to appreciate his low oxygen levels and timely treat his condition. The Baltimore City jury awarded $34,770,292.
- 2020, Baltimore City: $1,355,772 Verdict. An elderly man underwent a cervical discectomy. The surgeon lacerated an artery while removing bone segments. He temporarily halted the procedure to stop the bleeding. The surgeon then completed the procedure. Following the surgery, the man suffered multiple strokes. He never regained consciousness. The man’s son alleged that the surgeon’s failure to use proper surgical techniques caused his death. He received a $1,355,772 verdict.
- 2019, Baltimore City: $2,000,000 Verdict. A woman received Toradol and Phenergan injections for severe migraines. She suffered permanent sciatic nerve damage with radiculopathy after receiving a Phenergan injection. The woman alleged negligence against the healthcare facility. She claimed its nurse wrongly injected at the sciatic nerve instead of the gluteal medius. The Baltimore City jury awarded $2,000,000.
- 019, Baltimore City: $500,000 Verdict. A 37-year-old woman suffered abdominal pain. She came under a general surgeon’s care. The woman underwent a urachal cyst removal. The surgeon used a metal stapler and permanent sutures to close her up. Three years later, the woman passed kidney stones. Her physician discovered that calcifications developed around the staple suture line. The woman alleged negligence against the surgeon. She claimed he provided improper care and failed to use absorbable sutures. The Baltimore City jury awarded $500,000.
- 2019, Baltimore City: $850,000 Verdict. A 23-week-old baby received an IV line for a blood transfusion. The nurse placed it in her brachial artery instead of a vein. The girl suffered vascular insufficiency. She underwent the amputation of all her left hand’s fingers. The girl’s parents alleged negligence against the hospital. They claimed its nurse improperly placed the IV line, failed to monitor their daughter’s status, and failed to periodically replace the IV line. The jury awarded $850,000.
FAQs: Medical Malpractice
Below are some of the most common questions our Baltimore medical malpractice lawyers field from prospective clients.
What is considered medical malpractice?
Medical malpractice is considered to be any negligent action by licensed health care providers during the course of treatment or a medical procedure. A negligent action in this context means anything that falls short of standard medical practices. To have a valid medical malpractice case, the medical error must result in physical injury.
How do you know if medical malpractice occurs?
Medical negligence occurs when health care providers or medical professionals fail to adhere to standard medical practices during patient care and it results in physical harm. Maryland medical malpractice law requires an opinion from a qualified expert. The expert must agree that medical negligence occurred before a medical malpractice suit can be filed.
How do you prove a medical malpractice claim?
In order to prove a medical malpractice claim, you will need a formal opinion (and eventually testimony if the case goes to trial) from a qualified medical professional such as a doctor, nurse, etc. The expert will need to review your medical records and medical bills to evaluate whether medical negligence occurred.
How long can you wait to file a Maryland medical malpractice claim?
Maryland personal cases are subject to a 3-year statute of limitations. This means that a Maryland medical malpractice lawsuit must be filed within 3-years of the date that the malpractice claim “accrues.” A medical malpractice claim accrues when the plaintiff discovers or reasonably should have discovered, that they had grounds for a possible malpractice lawsuit. This deadline does not apply to malpractice cases involving wrongful death. The deadline for filing a wrongful death claim is 3-years after the date that the wrongful death occurs.
Can you still bring a medical malpractice claim if you didn’t follow your doctor’s instructions?
If you fail to follow your doctor’s treatment intructions, you can still bring a medical malpractice claim as long as your failure to follow the instructions was not the direct cause of your injuries. If the failure to comply with the instructions was the primary cause of your injuries, then your medical malpractice claim will not be successful.
What is the first step in bringing a medical malpractice claim?
If you want to pursue a medical malpractice claim, the first step you need to take is to set up a free consultation with a Maryland medical malpractice attorney. A Maryland medical malpractice attorney will review your case and determine whether you have a case. A medical malpractice law firm will also retain a medical professional to review you claim and given an opion as to wheter medical negligence occured.
Will I need my medical records for a medical malpractice lawsuit?
In order to bring a medical malpractice suit, you will definitely need to obtain all of your relevant medical records.
Do most medical malpractice cases settle?
About 7 out of every 10 medical malpractice lawsuits settle before going to trial. The national average for medical malpractice settlement is around $350,000, but our Maryland medical malpractice attorneys have a slightly higher average value.
Contact Our Maryland Medical Malpractice Lawyers
Contact our Maryland malpractice lawyers at 800-553-8082 for free consultation.