There are many reasons for people to place their trust, and their health, in the hands of doctors and other medical providers. This also means that there are many ways for things to go horribly wrong when a healthcare professional makes a preventable mistake that results in devastating harm. Malpractice includes failing to make the right diagnosis or delaying a diagnosis to the point where additional harm is done. Medical negligence also can include failing to provide the proper care for a particular ailment, prescribing the wrong medication, or failing to properly inform the patient about negative side-effects or reasonable alternatives. Basically, any time a medical professional fails to meet the standard of care established for the area of practice in which the treatment or advice is being given, malpractice has occurred. In many cases, the harm is negligible, but when the preventable error leads to serious injury, it is imperative for the victim of the malpractice to act quickly in order to preserve his legal rights.
Statute of Limitations For Medical Malpractice Claims in Maryland
In Maryland, as in many other states, there is a specific statute of limitations that applies to medical malpractice cases. A person who has been harmed as the result of a medical professional’s negligence has five (5) years from the date on which the medical malpractice occurred or three (3) years from the date on which the individual discovered the injury, whichever time period is shorter, to file the medical malpractice action. See Maryland Courts and Judicial Proceedings Code § 5-109. In order for the person to rely on the discovery date, he must demonstrate that he could not have learned about the injury at an earlier date through the exercise of reasonable diligence.
Maryland has an additional requirement for medical malpractice cases. After the initial complaint has been filed, the plaintiff must submit a certification that he consulted with a medical expert about the malpractice in order to confirm that there was negligence involved in the harm that the plaintiff endured. There are specific criteria that the medical expert must satisfy in order for the certification to be acceptable. This is one of the ways in which the court system regulates the volume of cases that are being litigated. An additional means of controlling medical malpractice cases and limiting those that go to trial is to require arbitration before a health claims panel, unless all parties agree to skip this process. The determination of the panel, including any proposed monetary award, may be introduced at trial if one of the parties rejects the determination. If the party that rejected the award does not prevail at trial, or if the verdict simply is less favorable than the pane award, then he is responsible for the other side’s costs.
Exceptions to the Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations in Maryland
A very important exception to the medical malpractice statute of limitations involves minor children who are harmed as a result of the negligence of the doctor or other healthcare provider. When the victim is a minor under 11 years of age, the time limit does not begin to run until the minor reaches his eleventh birthday. A further exception applies if a minor under the age of 16 years suffered from an injury to his or her reproductive system or if there were a foreign object left inside a patient’s body after surgery or other invasive procedure. Under these circumstances, the clock does not begin to run until the minor has reached his or her sixteenth birthday.
Stern Law, PLLC Advocates for Medical Malpractice Victims in Maryland
When a person has suffered from an injury due to medical malpractice, there are many pressing concerns that must be addressed quickly, including obtaining medical treatment for the harm and determining how to meet financial obligations. Seeking legal help may not be at the top of the list, but it should be. It is extremely important to take steps to preserve the victim’s legal rights as quickly as possible. At Stern Law, PLLC, our attorney knows how much time it takes to build a successful case and we urge people to seek legal advice as soon as they learn about an injury, or suspect that they might be the victims of medical malpractice. We have spent more than 30 years fighting to ensure that those who have been harmed by the negligence of a trusted medical professional get the compensation that they deserve.
In addition to working tirelessly on behalf of those who have suffered as the result of medical malpractice, we also provide answers and resources for those who have been harmed, or believe they may have been injured, as the result of a medical professional’s negligence. We have knowledgeable representatives available to respond to questions 24 hours a day, seven days a week, regardless of whether or not you are a client. Call us at 1-844-808-7529 or fill out an online contact form in order to learn how we can help you get through this difficult time.