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Medical Malpractice Claims: What Patients Should Know

Reports suggest that medical error and medical malpractice have become one of the leading causes of death in the United States. Here, the Baltimore personal injury attorneys at The Law Offices of Peter Angelos provide information regarding medical malpractice in America.

In 2016, researchers at Johns Hopkins University published a study in The BMJ, which named medical error as the third leading cause of death in the United States—preceded only by heart disease and cancer. The study suggested that more than 250,000 people die each year, from medical errors including surgical and medication-related mistakes and medical negligence.

What is medical malpractice?

Medical malpractice is a legal concept defined as improper or negligent treatment of a patient by a medical professional and requires that healthcare professionals meet a certain standard of care defined by their specialty or area of practice. When these professionals deviate from this standard, or they exhibit negligence when treating patients, they can be held liable for the damages that patients and their families suffer. This principle applies to all healthcare professionals, including physicians, specialists, obstetricians, nurses, dentists and therapists.

Medical malpractice and medical error can occur in any medical setting. The most common cases include birth injury, surgical error, emergency room error, medication error, misdiagnosis, failure to diagnose and hospital infection.

What do I need to know about filing a medical malpractice claim?

While patients or their families may file medical malpractice claims if they have suffered unnecessarily while in the care of a medical professional, it is important that they understand the limitations placed on such claims by both state and federal law.

A statute of limitations exists for medical malpractice claims. This means that the patient or a designated representative has a limited amount of time, from when the injury occurred or was discovered, that they are legally permitted to file a claim. Should a patient or designated representative fail to file a claim during this time, they may lose the right to do so.

In order to make a successful claim, plaintiffs must be able to provide evidence that the medical professional in question made a mistake; that the patient suffered injury or death due to that mistake while under the supervision or care of the provider; and there was a direct correlation between the mistake and or negligence and the damages suffered.

How can I get help?

It is important that patients partner with an experienced personal injury attorney who has a success record in representing patients in these types of claims. The personal injury and medical malpractice attorneys at The Law Offices of Peter Angelos have extensive experience litigating medical malpractice claims, and have secured substantial compensation on behalf of our patients. If you or a loved one has suffered as a result of medical malpractice, contact us for a free consultation.