Maryland Birth Injury Lawsuit

To establish that medical malpractice occurred in the case of a birth injury in Maryland, families must provide clear proof to the courts in a timely manner. This process can become lengthy, and an attorney that specializes in medical malpractice cases can help ensure that everything is done properly.

Some of the things that an attorney can do in a birth injury lawsuit in Maryland include filing the lawsuit within the statute of limitations, or finding an exception to exploit if the statute of limitations has already passed; helping determine how much to sue a doctor, medical team, or medical facility for in relation to the past, present, and future medical needs of the child; gathering the certificate of merit that is necessary for a case to go forward; and finding the right medical expert to stand as witness during the trial.

Statute of Limitations

Maryland’s statute of limitations in a birth injury lawsuit are some of the most straightforward in the nation. Claims have to be filed within five years of the child’s birth, or within three years of the discovery of the injury, whichever comes first. A wrongful death lawsuit must be brought before the courts within three years of the child’s death.

After these times, a birth injury lawsuit will be thrown out by the Maryland court.

Need for Medical Experts

There are two ways in which a plaintiff needs medical experts during the filing of a birth injury lawsuit. The first is necessary for a certificate of merit. This letter states that a medical professional has reviewed the case and does agree that a case of malpractice could be proven. This letter must be filed with the lawsuit within 90 days of the original filing. The defendant in the case must also file a certificate of merit from another medical professional, stating that in their opinion, the defendant’s care did not cause the plaintiff’s injury.

Additionally, a medical expert is required to stand witness when or if the case goes before a court. There are several limitations on whom can stand as witness in a birth injury lawsuit. The party must be a qualified professional in the same field as the defendant. They cannot be an employee of the same organization as the defendant, or a partner or employee of any organization which has a financial interest in the case.

Damage Caps and Liability

Maryland does have a contributory negligence law in place, which states that if a plaintiff is found even partially at fault for the injury sustained (such as failing to follow the doctor’s orders, or not following the doctor’s medical advice during the time of birth), the plaintiff could have their damages revoked entirely. Even if the doctor or facility is found guilty of proven malpractice, even 1% liability on the plaintiff could result in no damages recovered.

Malpractice cases are capped in Maryland on a sliding scale. In 2009, non-economic damages were set at 650,000 dollars. Every year the cap increases by 15,000, meaning the most recent cap amount for non-economic damages is 755,000 dollars. Non-economic damages are things that cannot be measured in dollar amounts, such as loss of quality of life, or pain and suffering.

Economic damages are not capped in the state of Maryland. These are damages awarded to pay the medical costs of caring for the injured child, and for paying the legal fees. An attorney can help find a medical professional to estimate the future needs of the child, which will help decide how much to ask the judge to award in the case.

Sources:

http://www.alllaw.com/articles/nolo/medical-malpractice/laws-maryland.html

http://www.marylandinjurylawyer.net/birth-injuries.html

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