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The injured party has the burden of proving that the health care provider negligently failed to meet the applicable professional standard of care for that health care provider. That means the health care provider failed to act as a reasonably prudent health care provider in Maryland would under similar circumstances. Health care providers are judged in comparison with similarly trained and qualified providers of the same class in the same community and in the same field of medical specialization. Likewise, a hospital owes their patients a duty of ordinary care to provide equipment and facilities reasonably suited to the intended uses and such as are in general use in similar hospitals under similar circumstances. The injured patient must then prove that the health care provider`s breach of the standard of care was a proximate cause of the injuries to the patient. In other words, there must be a close connection between the action of the health care provider and the harm to the patient. Finally, you have to show what damages resulted form the alleged mistake. This may include medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, etc.
In Maryland, medical malpractice claims are filed with the Health Claims Arbitration Office. Within 90 days of filing the claim, a claimant must file a certificate from a qualified expert attesting to a departure from the applicable standard of care and that the departure was the proximate cause of the alleged injury. An arbitration panel reviews claims unless either the claimant or defendant waives arbitration. If the claim does go to arbitration and the panel determines that the provider is liable, it will itemize and apportion damages. Any party may reject the panel`s findings, but the findings are admissible in any subsequent court proceedings.
Medical malpractice claims are very difficult to prevail in and are also extremely expensive partly due to the need for qualified expert review and testimony. Whether or not you have a good case depends on the professional judgment of attorneys and medical experts. If you are told that you do not have a case with merit, you should seek another opinion from one or more other attorneys.
This article is intended to be helpful and informative. But even common legal matters can become complex and stressful. A qualified medical malpractice lawyer can address your particular legal needs, explain the law, and represent you in court. Take the first step now and contact a local medical malpractice attorney to discuss your specific legal situation.