How Should I Handle Hospital Negligence?
Local Baltimore attorneys established the law firm, LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton, with a focus on injury recovery. Since 1987, our Baltimore medical malpractice lawyers have recovered more than $250 million on behalf of our injured clients. After meticulously reviewing your medical malpractice claim, we give you candid advice about what your case is worth and what we can do for you. If you were injured during a hospital procedure, we pursue the medical professionals and hospital for negligence.
Sadly, hospital malpractice occurs every year. A study by Johns Hopkins in 2016 showed that about 250,000 medical errors result in deaths every year. Medical errors are on the rise, and they are not a small problem. Conversely, the National Practitioner Database recently showed that only 3,046 wrongful death insurance claims were made in a single year. This number pales in comparison with the number of deaths that seem to be caused by medical error. Because most medical error fatalities are actionable as medical malpractice, you must understand what happened, how to receive the help you need, and reach out to medical malpractice lawyer to discuss your case.
Hospital negligence does not occur unless you can show that there was a breakdown in patient care. The following steps show how hospital malpractice occurs, and what must be proven when you take your case to court. You are not supposed to figure this out on your own. Bring us any information you have, and we will investigate your case using the formula listed here:
- The hospital had a duty to you. Your admittance for a test or procedure, or your visit to an emergency room for urgent care, would satisfy this element. If you are not the hospital’s patient, it is difficult to prove hospital malpractice. For example, if you went to the hospital with a friend who needed medical treatment and interacted briefly with a medical professional about a problem you were having, the practitioner most likely told you to check in immediately. If you were not checked in, you were not their patient.
- The hospital breached its duty to you. Through expert testimony, our attorneys first establish the accepted standard of care as dictated by the health care industry. We then furnish proof of how the hospital deviated from that accepted standard of care. Your opinion about your care is different from the procedures that were taken by medical professionals with whom you interacted. We must show that they deviated from accepted protocol.
- You were injured because of the breach. Now that we established there was a breach in your care, we must show that you were injured because medical professionals were derelict in their duties to the patient. You have a valid claim only if you were harmed by the hospital’s mistakes. We rely on doctors’ notes, diagnostic tests, photographs, and witness statements to show the nature and extent of your injuries.
Once we have proved that the hospital is liable for your injuries, our lawyers calculate damages based on lost wages, diminished future earning capacity, disabilities, disfigurement, and medical bills.
What if the Hospital Attempts to Prove I am Responsible for My Injuries?
The hospital’s errors are the proximate cause of your damages. To avoid liability, hospitals will attempt to show that you are responsible for what happened. Our attorneys anticipate and prepare to counter this argument from the start.
We also ask that you follow these guidelines:
- Do not speak to the hospital’s lawyers. They are often ready to settle quickly or might try to trick you into proving you caused your injuries. Send all communications with outside lawyers to our office for review.
- Do not speak to insurance companies. Insurance companies often record phone calls, and anything you say could be used to show you are somehow at-fault for your injuries.
- Do not call the hospital to complain about your medical bills. You have every right to be upset if the hospital is billing you for care that caused you pain and suffering. At the same time, complaining to the billing department will not help your case. Again, the hospital might record these calls and use them against you in court or as we attempt to settle the case.
Doctrines of Vicarious Liability and Respondeat Superior
Hospitals may be held responsible for their employees’ or agents’ actions under the doctrines of vicarious liability and respondeat superior.
Vicarious liability means that:
- The hospital may be held liable for mistakes made by another person or entity, such as its personnel or independent contractors who perform essential hospital functions.
Respondeat superior refers to an employer’s liability for its employees.
This legal doctrine may apply if:
- The facility and the negligent staff member have an employment relationship and the employee was acting in the scope of their job when making the harmful error. For example, a hospital could be sued under the concept of respondeat superior if a nurse accidentally administered a lethal dose of medication to a patient.
Hospitals’ Duties to Patients
A hospital has a duty to provide its patients with safe, quality medical treatment. When you believe your injuries were caused by faulty equipment, we must ensure that the hospital followed the proper procedures when managing or maintaining that equipment.
Every hospital should do this by:
- Preventing equipment malfunction and responding appropriately if medical tools break or fail
- Sterilizing the air, surfaces, and equipment to protect patients from infection and/or sepsis
- Ensuring the competence of its staff, nurses, doctors, surgeons, and anesthesiologists
- Overseeing all aspects of patient care
- Developing, initiating, and enforcing rules, guidelines, policies, and procedures
You may have seen something that you thought was not quite right when you were in the hospital, and we will investigate the matter. A hospital must do a lot to ensure your safety, and the hospital can be held liable if any part of the system breaks down and causes your injuries.
How Can I Recover Damages?
When you file a claim against a hospital for medical malpractice, our medical malpractice lawyers will attempt to recover damages.
Damages for medical malpractice fall into the following three categories:
- Economic damages
- Non-economic damage
- Punitive damages
Economic damages include lost wages and lost earning potential. You must provide for your family, but you cannot do that if a hospital or medical practitioner injured you as a result of their own error. You may be disabled, and this also factors into your economic damages because you may have a fixed income if you must accept government disability assistance.
Non-economic damages include pain and suffering and/or loss of companionship. Your life may have changed forever when you were injured in the hospital, and the hospital should be held accountable for its grievous error. The state of Maryland also allows you to recover punitive damages. These damages are capped by the state and are meant purely to punish the hospital and prevent negligence in the future.
In Maryland, the statute of limitations to file suit is five years from the date of the injury or three years from the date the injury was discovered, whichever is earlier. You also have three years from the date of death to file your wrongful death claim. However, if a medical error caused the death, Maryland’s statute of limitations starts on the date of the injury. Because of this, you should reach out to us as soon as possible to prevent any delays in your case.
Baltimore Medical Malpractice Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Collect Damages from the Hospital Responsible for Your Injuries
When you want to recover compensation from a negligent medical facility, reach out to the Baltimore medical malpractice lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. We will review your case and fight for the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Call us at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation.
Located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie and Prince George’s County, we represent victims throughout Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Southern Maryland and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Parkville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood and Elkridge.