GET HELP FROM A BALTIMORE MEDICAL MALPRACTICE LAWYER
We trust hospitals, doctors, nurses and other medical professionals to diagnose and treat our illnesses, diseases and injuries. But unfortunately, medical professionals and facilities sometimes fail to provide the level of care they are morally and legally obligated to provide. When negligence, errors, intentional harm or fraud occur during medical care or treatment, patients are fortunate if they recover from injuries. Many medical malpractice injuries lead to lifelong disabilities or death, which devastates victims and their families.
Our team at Spector Law Group is committed to helping injured patients who live in the greater Baltimore area seek justice after a negligent medical facility or practitioner caused them harm. We also have the resources and knowledge to help other law firms with medical malpractice cases they cannot handle. In either situation, contact our Baltimore medical malpractice lawyer online or call (410) 321-6200 for a free case evaluation to discuss the circumstances of your medical malpractice claim and learn how we can help.
SPECTOR LAW GROUP RESULTS IN MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CASES
Our skilled attorney represents people who have suffered injuries resulting from many kinds of personal injuries, including medical malpractice. The firm’s passion for client advocacy and case preparation has allowed them to recover tens of millions of dollars in settlements and jury awards for their clients.
Recent medical malpractice case results include:
- $10.8 million jury award for a child who developed cerebral palsy as a result of a practitioner’s failure to recognize and treat a uterine rupture during the mother’s pregnancy.
- $6 million settlement for another child who developed cerebral palsy as a result of labor and delivery malpractice.
- $4.25 million settlement for a child who suffered brain damage and developed a seizure disorder when medical staff failed to respond to symptoms of dehydration soon after birth.
- $3.5 million settlement for a child who developed cerebral palsy and suffers developmental issues resulting from mismanaged labor and delivery.
These case results serve as examples and do not guarantee a specific outcome for any specific future medical malpractice case. Each malpractice claim involves different circumstances that increase or decrease a settlement or jury award’s potential value. However, the experienced legal team at Spector Law Group aggressively pursues the maximum amount of compensation commensurate with each client’s malpractice injuries.
HOW DOES THE LAW DEFINE MEDICAL MALPRACTICE?
The broad definition of medical malpractice includes any act or failure by a medical professional while treating a patient that strays from accepted standards of practice in the medical community and harms the patient. From a legal standpoint, medical malpractice is a type of professional negligence.
Specific examples of actions that constitute medical malpractice when they lead to injury include:
- Failure to diagnose or misdiagnosis of illness or disease.
- Failure to take a complete patient medical history.
- Failure to order the proper diagnostic testing, including lab tests, CT scans, MRIs and X-rays.
- Surgical errors such as surgical leftovers and wrong-site, wrong-patient or wrong-procedure surgeries.
- Premature patient discharge and inadequate aftercare.
- Medication errors, including wrong amount, wrong medication or failure to administer medication.
- Anesthesia errors such as wrong drug, wrong dose or improper administration.
- Fraud, misrepresentation or other forms of intentional harm.
For more information regarding specific types of medical malpractice review some of our other practice areas:
DOES MEDICAL MALPRACTICE IN BALTIMORE HAPPEN OFTEN?
Data from the National Practitioner Data Bank reveals that Maryland patients report medical malpractice more than 300 times each year. Inevitably, many of these cases occur in and around Baltimore at places, including:
- The Johns Hopkins Hospital
- MedStar Harbor Hospital
- MedStar Union Memorial Hospital
- Mercy Medical Center
- Saint Agnes Hospital
- Sinai Hospital
- Union Memorial Hospital
- University of Maryland Medical Center
If one of these facilities or any other one in the Baltimore area injured you, call us today. No matter how big or prestigious the provider, if their malpractice injured you, we want to help.
ROOT CAUSES OF MEDICAL MALPRACTICE IN BALTIMORE
Although some practitioners intentionally misrepresent themselves and their experience, most medical malpractice claims are not a result of intentional harm. Yet, medical facilities and practitioners’ choices when they care for a patient can lead to crucial mistakes that violate standards in the medical community. Many different situations can drive these choices. Some root causes of medical malpractice include:
Doctors, nurses and other medical staff often have demanding schedules that include long days, double shifts and very little sleep. When medical practitioners do not get the rest they need, they can suffer impaired judgment, unsteady hands and cannot always physically provide the care and treatment a patient needs. Mistakes due to fatigue can put patients at risk for injuries, illness and death.
Hospitals generally have multiple floors and departments to serve patients with different needs. Some hospitals do a substandard job of fostering effective communication between departments. When patients need to move from one department to another, information must follow. Breakdowns in communication are among the biggest contributors to severe medical errors such as wrong-site surgeries, wrong-patient surgeries, early discharges and medication errors.
Large medical providers with multiple hospitals and nursing care facilities are notorious for understaffing. When doctors, nurses and other medical professionals consistently have to work extra shifts and departments are short-staffed, it’s difficult for staff to provide an acceptable standard of care. In addition to neglecting patient needs, overworked medical professionals sometimes make severe and deadly mistakes.
Medical facilities have a legal obligation to train their staff properly to follow best practices in every aspect of their role. Practitioners spend years in college and nursing or medical school, but that does not negate new team members’ need to complete training in the facility and work under supervision before treating patients on their own. This is especially crucial for those with critical roles such as anesthesiologists and surgeons.
Anyone can struggle with alcohol or drug addiction. Addiction does not discriminate based on class or education, making medical professionals as vulnerable as anyone outside their field. Doctors and nurses have high-stress jobs and access to addictive medication, making it easy for some to fall into the drug addiction trap. Impaired medical practitioners make severe and potentially deadly errors during diagnosis, treatment and care of their patients.
TYPES OF COMPENSATION IN BALTIMORE MEDICAL MALPRACTICE CASES
If you or a loved one has suffered harm due to a medical error or the negligence of your medical provider, Maryland law permits you to seek compensation for your injuries by filing a medical malpractice claim. Settlements and jury awards compensate malpractice victims for economic and noneconomic losses incurred due to their malpractice injuries.
Malpractice victims face economic losses that contribute to the value of their claims. Economic losses refer to expenses related to your injuries that directly cost you money. You can easily quantify most economic losses because you have a bill or receipt to prove them. Economic losses for future costs require estimates and are sometimes more difficult to quantify.
Common economic losses included in compensation for a medical malpractice claim include:
Medical malpractice injuries typically result in a wide range of additional medical treatment costs. Victims sometimes need ambulance service and emergency room treatment depending on the circumstances. In other cases, victims of malpractices aren’t sure exactly what’s wrong with them, so they must undergo a battery of diagnostic tests and scans. Some medical errors require corrective surgery or treatment patients would otherwise not need. In cases where a physician fails to diagnose a disease, patients who discover their condition later often need more treatment and more aggressive treatment.
Medical negligence and medical errors can lead to permanent disabilities and conditions that require ongoing care and treatment. This is especially true for birth injuries that lead to lifelong struggles for child victims. Sometimes, this also includes full-time nursing care at home or in a long-term care facility, resulting in significant economic loss for the victim or their family.
Many injuries resulting from medical malpractice require at least some rehabilitation, including physical therapy, occupational therapy and other specialized treatment. Some patients also need assistive devices such as wheelchairs during recovery and beyond.
In some malpractice cases, victims switch doctors or practitioners. Other times, medical error or negligence prompts patients to transfer to a new hospital or another facility. Transfers can be costly, depending on the circumstances and the severity of one’s condition.
Suffering injury or illness resulting from medical malpractice typically requires victims to miss weeks or months from work, resulting in lost income. Parents who need to tend to a sick or injured baby or child must also take costly time away from their jobs.
Sometimes medical malpractice leads to permanent injuries or disabilities that prevent a patient from returning to the workplace or seeking future employment. In these
Malpractice victims also suffer losses related to their injuries that are more difficult to quantify. Noneconomic losses refer to the damage and impact injuries have on a patient’s life.
Common noneconomic losses included in compensation for a medical malpractice claim include:
Victims of medical malpractice face physical and emotional pain from the harm their medical provider caused. Physical pain and suffering refer to actual injuries or harm a patient experiences and the accompanying aches and discomfort. Emotional pain and suffering refer to the mental trauma that comes with suffering injuries at the hands of a doctor or medical facility and the associated trauma. Trauma sometimes leads to anxiety, depression, anger and other negative emotions.
When malpractice leads to severe injuries, victims sometimes cannot enjoy the same activities they did before their injuries. Diminished quality of life means the inability to perform daily tasks as well as enjoy recreational activities. This is especially relevant to those who are bedridden after malpractice or suffer brain injuries that impact cognitive and motor function.
Severe injuries and permanent disabilities impact marital relations. Malpractice victims who are married sometimes receive compensation for loss of consortium with their spouse. Loss of consortium typically refers to sexual relations within a marriage as well as damage to a marriage’s emotional intimacy.
If medical malpractice injuries cause permanent scars, disfigurement or disabilities, settlements and jury awards can include additional compensation. Victims must cope with the frustration, humiliation, embarrassment and other negative emotions that come with a permanent scar or disability.
Compensation for punitive damages is rare. Under Maryland law, a defendant must intentionally harm a patient or defraud them for the patient to receive punitive damages. This typically does not happen. However, medical malpractice that includes the failure of a defective medical device could lead to punitive damages if the surgeon who implanted the device knew of the dangers of the product.
If you lost a loved one as a result of medical malpractice, Maryland law permits you to take legal action by filing a wrongful death claim, which could allow you to recover compensation and money for funeral expenses. Your Baltimore medical malpractice lawyer can review your case, answer questions, and determine your eligibility for compensation.
WE ARE HERE FOR YOU AND YOUR FAMILY
The experienced legal team at Spector Law Group understands the medical malpractice claims process and is here to handle the details while you focus on healing or helping your loved one recover. Contact us online or call (410) 321-6200 for a free case review to share your story, ask any questions and learn your legal options for seeking justice after a medical facility or practitioner harmed you or your loved one. From our Baltimore office, we represent people in Maryland and Washington, D.C.
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) 321-6200 today. From our Baltimore office, we represent people in Maryland and Washington D.C.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.