Medical Malpractice and Wrongful Death – How Surviving Family Members Can Recover Damages

Medical Malpractice and Wrongful Death – How Surviving Family Members Can Recover Damages

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Referring to situations in which patients experience harm or even death as a result of the negligence of healthcare professionals, medical malpractice is unfortunately common in Maryland. The state has a high rate of medical malpractice, with 87 adverse action reports per 100,000 residents. There are many reasons why medical malpractice occurs, the most common being misdiagnosis, unnecessary delay of treatment, failure to order lab tests, prescribing the wrong treatment, and ignoring the patient’s concerns and symptoms. In 1988, Nancy Condon filed a lawsuit against Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis because she was misdiagnosed as not having breast cancer after undergoing a routine mammogram and biopsy. This is just one example of a medical error that can have serious consequences for the patient’s health.

However, medical malpractice can, in the most tragic cases, result in death. When this happens, the surviving family members can file a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible healthcare providers to recover damages such as lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and funeral and burial expenses. The law governing wrongful death cases is different in every state, which is why, if you intend to file a lawsuit, you should familiarize yourself with the basics and, most importantly, seek the assistance of a personal injury attorney. They can help you understand your legal rights and secure the maximum amount of compensation you are entitled to. While compensation will never be able to bring back your loved one, it can at least ease the financial hardship you may experience due to their passing away.

The Basic Elements of Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit for Medical Malpractice in Maryland

In Maryland, the surviving family members of a medical malpractice victim have three years from the date of death to file a wrongful death lawsuit. This is known as the statute of limitations. The average settlement amount ranges between $300,000 and $2,000,000, but it is important to keep in mind that each case is unique. Only a personal injury attorney would be able to give you a rough estimate after a thorough analysis of your situation. According to Maryland law, the spouses, parents, and children of the deceased person can file a wrongful death lawsuit. The purpose of a wrongful death lawsuit is to provide family members with compensation for the loss of the deceased person’s love, financial support, and companionship that the family would have continued to receive if the medical malpractice victim had not died.

While physicians are usually associated with medical malpractice, it is worth noting that other healthcare providers, including nurses, technicians, dentists, social workers, therapists, and midwives, can also face a lawsuit. Recovery for pain and suffering and loss of consortium are considered non-economic damages and, therefore, are subject to Maryland’s cap on non-economic damages. This cap changes every year. In 2023, the cap was $2,262,500 for a wrongful death case with two or more survivors. Punitive damages are rarely awarded in medical malpractice wrongful death lawsuits, as gross negligence is not enough in Maryland to pursue punitive damages. To file a claim, you will need to show the medical professional owed the deceased a duty of care, the duty was breached, the breach was a direct cause of the death, and the death caused damage.

Do You Really Need a Personal Injury Attorney to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Having a personal injury attorney by your side when pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit for medical malpractice is essential, as they will investigate the case, gather evidence, calculate damages, negotiate settlements, and represent you in court if necessary. Wrongful death cases can be complicated, and navigating the legal system can be very overwhelming for grieving family members. A personal injury attorney has the expertise and knowledge to guide you through the legal process, ensuring you fully understand your rights and options. Last but not least, they will fight relentlessly to make sure you and your family receive fair compensation for your loss.

About The Author

Sean M. Cleary

Sean M. Cleary is a personal injury attorney with over 20 years of professional experience whose area of practice focuses on medical malpractice and wrongful death. The Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary is headquartered in Miami, Florida.

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