How Does Maryland Define Medical Malpractice Laws, Limits and Damages?
The laws governing medical malpractice exist at the state level. This means that the definition of medical malpractice varies from state to state. In Maryland, specifically, medical malpractice is a type of personal injury claim. Furthermore, Maryland law imposes certain time limits and damages caps for medical malpractice claims.
What Qualifies as a Medical Malpractice Claim?
In order to recover against a medical professional, the patient must demonstrate a breach in the standard of care. In other words, the patient must prove that the medical professional deviated from acceptable treatment practices and standards. This is a highly subjective exercise, as the standard of care can change based on the type of injury or disease, diagnostic history and a variety of other factors.
In addition to demonstrating a breach of the standard of care, the patient must also show proximate cause. Stated otherwise, the patient must show that their harm or injury is a direct result of the medical professional’s breach of the standard of care.
What is the Time Limit for Filing a Medical Malpractice Claim?
Under Maryland Code of Courts and Judicial Proceedings Section 5–109, there is a specific time limit for filing a medical malpractice claim. The patient must file their medical malpractice claim within the earlier of:
- Five years from the date of harm or injury; or
- Three years from the date of discovery of the harm or injury.
Parsing out the requirements above, a patient has five years to file a medical malpractice claim under normal circumstances. But if the patient does not know about their injury until a later date, Section 5-109 provides some leeway. In those circumstances, the patient must file their medical malpractice within three years of learning of their injury.
What Types of Damages are Available in a Medical Malpractice Claim?
In most Maryland medical malpractice claims, there are two types of damages — economic and non-economic. On the first level, economic damages refer to the measurable costs of a medical malpractice claim. These costs include but are not limited to medical bills and fees, lost wages and ongoing treatment for disability. Maryland law does not impose a limit on economic damages.
On the other hand, non-economic damages refer to the immeasurable costs of a medical malpractice claim. These costs do not have a fixed dollar amount, making them much harder to calculate. Non-economic damages include but are not limited to emotional suffering, loss of companionship and other related issues.
Given the abstract nature of non-economic damages, Maryland law imposes a limit or cap on these damages. Referred to as a damages cap in Maryland Code of Courts and Judicial Proceedings Section 3–2A–09, the limit on non-economic damages increases by $15,000 each year.
Do You Need Legal Help?
If you have legal questions about medical malpractice in Maryland, it can be exceedingly valuable to sit down with an experienced personal injury attorney. The attorneys at Iamele & Iamele, LLP in Baltimore, Maryland, have the experience needed to help you mount a successful medical malpractice lawsuit. If you need legal help, contact us today for a free initial consultation.