Unfortunately, you don’t have forever to file a claim if you’ve experienced medical malpractice. There is a statute that limits how much time there is before you no longer have the right to file a lawsuit. Getting in contact with a medical malpractice lawyer in Maryland as soon as possible will help you get the ball rolling on your case.
Ask a Medical Malpractice Lawyer in Maryland: How Long Do I Have To File a Claim?
The statute of limitations on medical malpractice varies in Maryland. The regular statute of limitations on medical malpractice is five years after the malpractice occurred. If you didn’t find out about the issue until later, then the statute of limitations is three years from the date you found out that your illness/injury was likely caused by medical negligence.
Visit this link to learn more about the types of malpractice claims Maryland lawyers often deal with. If the statute of limitations varies in those types of claims, then your attorney will let you know.
The Exception: Surgical Cases
Although you have five years from the date of malpractice occurring to file a claim on most medical malpractice cases, this differs for surgical cases. For example, if you experienced a surgical error, then you only have three years from the date the error occurred or from the date you found out about it.
The five-year statute of limitations covers medical malpractice cases such as misdiagnoses, mistreatment, late diagnosis, and many other types of medical negligence. When you explain your case to an attorney, they’ll be able to tell you what type of medical malpractice your case is most likely classed as and determine the statute of limitations that will apply.
How Soon After Learning About the Malpractice Should I Contact an Attorney?
You should contact an attorney as soon as possible after finding out you experienced medical malpractice. Ideally, you’ll contact someone within a few days or weeks. It’s best to contact an attorney before informing the practitioner/hospital of the malpractice. That is, of course, if the hospital/practitioner doesn’t already know about the situation. Some errors, such as wrong site operations, are almost impossible to miss.
You still need to contact an attorney even if the hospital or physician in question knows the malpractice occurred. You may be offered a settlement in good faith, and you’ll need an attorney to evaluate it to see whether or not it covers the extent of your damages. Attorneys can estimate how much you may be entitled to in damages by comparing your case to similar ones they’ve worked on previously.
What Types of Damages Can I Win Compensation for in a Medical Malpractice Case?
1. Economic Damages
Economic damages can be measured financially. Some types of economic damages include your medical expenses, any money you have lost or will lose by missing work due to illness/injury, the cost of future medical treatments you’ll need to correct or treat the injury, the cost of adjustments you’ll have to make to your house if you’ve been left with a disability, and more.
2. Non-Economic Damages
Non-economic damages include pain and suffering and loss of quality of life. In wrongful death malpractice cases, they may include loss of consortium. Essentially, these are damages that place an emotional rather than a financial burden on you. In cases where your life has been changed forever by the malpractice, you could potentially win a high six-figure sum in non-economic damages.
The cap on non-economic damages is $875,000 as of 2023. Plaintiffs who are awarded amounts close to this sum could end up with 7-figure settlements overall when the economic damages are added on.
3. Punitive Damages
Punitive damages in malpractice cases are rare. However, they can be awarded if it is determined a physician acted with malice. Punitive damages are intended to punish the physician/hospital that harmed you. These damages are also a way to make an example out of the hospital or physician that engaged in malpractice, hopefully preventing others from making the same mistakes in the future.
How Will My Attorney Know What Type of Damages I Could Win?
Any attorney who has worked on lots of medical malpractice cases will be able to evaluate yours and determine what types of damages you’re likely to win based on the situation. Investigating further will help them calculate a specific sum that’s intended to cover all of your damages. in most cases, it’s very hard to say exactly how much a plaintiff could win until further investigation is done into the case.
In Maryland, you have five years to file a claim after experiencing most types of medical malpractice. Surgical error cases, and cases where you discovered the malpractice occurred further down the line, have a statute of limitations for three years. You should start working with an attorney as early as possible to ensure you file a claim within these timeframes.