Understanding Medical Malpractice
We pride ourselves on our advanced medical technology and competent health care providers in the United States, but that does not mean that mistakes don’t happen. When those mistakes rise to the level of causing harm to a patient, medical malpractice may have occurred. Let’s learn what goes into a medical malpractice case.
What is Medical Malpractice?
According to the American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys (ABPLA), medical malpractice occurs when a hospital, doctor or other health care professional, through a negligent act or omission, causes an injury to a patient. To be considered medical malpractice under the law the claim must show there was a violation of standard care, an injury caused by negligence, and the injury caused substantial damages.
Examples of Medical Malpractice
There are numerous examples of medical malpractice, but those noted below are common and often lead to patients filing claims. The medical mistakes referenced are not exclusive to doctors. They can be made by nurses, nurse aides, pharmacists, dentists, or physician assistants among others.
- Surgical Mistakes
- Anesthesia Mistakes
- Medication Errors
- Misdiagnoses or Delayed Diagnosis
- Failure to Diagnosis
- Lab Work Errors
- Post Operation Care Mistakes
- Errors Made During Child Birth
It is important to note there is a difference between a medical procedure not going the way you had hoped versus medical malpractice. If an injury did not occur and the standard of care was met, you do not likely have a case.
When Do I Have a Case?
Proving you have been the victim of medical malpractice can be more difficult than it seems on the surface. You should contact a qualified lawyer who understands the law in your area to assist in this determination. They will conduct an interview and want to see your medical records. Once they have reviewed the documents, they may ask a team of doctors or other medical professionals to do the same. They will then work with you to file a claim if they believe you have sufficient grounds to do so.
Is There a Statute of Limitations for Medical Malpractice?
The statute of limitations for filing a medical malpractice claim varies from state to state. Regardless, the sooner you meet with a lawyer and start the process, the better.
The Maryland Code, Courts and Judicial Proceedings (Section 5-109) states that claims must be made within five years of the time the injury was committed, or within three years of the date it was discovered.
Virginia Code (Section 8.01-243) allows two years from the time the injury transpired to file a claim. There is no discovery rule in place, which means if the injury was discovered more than two years after it occurred, a claim will not gain traction. There are some exceptions to this duration depending on the circumstances surrounding the injury.
According to the Code of the District of Columbia (Section 12-301), claims must be filed within three years of the injury.
Your health is of utmost importance, so be sure to get a second (and perhaps third) opinion in regard to your injury. While seeking medical advice, there are several other steps you should take.
- Write down the details surrounding your experience, including dates.
- Request your medical records from the doctor or hospital.
- Contact a competent lawyer who can help determine if you have sufficient grounds for a claim.
If you suspect your injury is from medical malpractice, contact Malloy Law Offices, LLC at (202) 845-7727
today, and we will work with you to begin the process of exploring your options and getting you the
compensation you deserve.