No person expects to be embroiled in a legal conflict with a hospital they entrusted to render them medical care. Unfortunately, if a medical practitioner fails to provide a patient with adequate care, a patient could be forced to file a medical malpractice lawsuit to recover compensation for their injuries. If you were a victim of medical malpractice, consult with an experienced Baltimore hospital negligence lawyer today. Bennett & Heyman is dedicated to helping our clients pursue compensation for their injuries due to medical malpractice. Our firm is here to explain how to sue a hospital in Baltimore.
When is a Hospital Liable for Negligence?
A hospital can be held liable for the actions of its employees or for failing to keep their property free of hazards that could harm a patient. It is important to understand when a medical malpractice lawsuit should be pursued against a hospital or its employees, or possibly both parties.
Doctors, nurses, and other medical staff at a hospital are required to provide a patient with medical care that meets a certain standard. While this level of care does not have to be perfect, healthcare professionals must avoid causing injuries to patients due to negligence.
When a medical practitioner commits negligence when treating a patient, there is a possibility that their actions could be imputed to their employer. Specifically, a medical practitioner must be working within the scope of their employment and in furtherance of their employer’s goals when the negligence was committed. This legal rule is referred to as “respondeat superior,” and it is a form of vicarious liability. This also means that actions of a health professional that occurred outside off-duty are not subject to respondeat superior.
Note, however, that some hospitals will only employ doctors and some other healthcare professionals as independent contractors. As a result, the hospital can claim that they only allowed a medical practitioner to use their facility and that they are not responsible for their actions. This practice is typically performed for some doctors that work with a hospital.
As mentioned, a hospital can commit negligence if they fail to keep their property free of hazards that could injure or make a patient sick. For example, if a hospital fails to clean up a spill that later results in a slip and fall accident for a patient, the hospital could be held liable for negligence. Other issues that could amount to hospital negligence include:
- Failing to replace bed sheets or clean a room prior to admitting a new patient
- Injuring a patient with malfunctioning medical equipment
- Administering incorrect medication that causes an adverse medication reaction
- Failing to sanitize medical equipment
To learn more about filing a lawsuit for medical malpractice, continue reading and consult with an experienced Baltimore medical malpractice attorney.
When to File a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit in Baltimore
If you need to file a medical malpractice lawsuit in Baltimore, you must be aware of the statute of limitations that could affect your claim if you are not diligent. The statute of limitations dictates the length of time that a claimant has to file a lawsuit. The filing deadline is subject to change depending on the type of claim filed by a claimant.
In Maryland, the statute of limitations for a medical malpractice lawsuit is five years from the date the injury was inflicted. If a claimant fails to file their lawsuit within five years, there is a high chance the defendant will ask to dismiss the case when it is filed. As a result, a defendant will escape liability because the court will agree to dismiss the claim unless the plaintiff has met some exception to the statute of limitations.
One exception to the five-year deadline is if a claimant was not initially aware of their injuries. For example, if a surgeon left a medical instrument inside of a patient, the patient may not discover the instrument for months or even years when they begin to experience pain, or they have an X-ray. Under these circumstances, the claimant would have three years to file their lawsuit from the date they discovered the injury.
Five years is a significant amount of time to file a medical malpractice claim. However, it would not be wise to wait almost five years to pursue a claim for various reasons. For example, a key witness in your case could move to another state or even another country, which could seriously harm your case. Additionally, if you require the potential compensation from a case to handle medical bills and other expenses, you do not want to jeopardize your case by filing close to the deadline.
Our Experienced Baltimore Hospital Negligence Attorneys are Ready to Work with You
If you or a family member was injured due to doctor negligence, contact an experienced Baltimore personal injury lawyer. At Bennett & Heyman, we possess decades of combined legal experience, and we are committed to using this knowledge to provide you with the legal representation you deserve. We have worked with residents across Baltimore, and we are ready to work with you. To schedule a free case evaluation to discuss your claim, contact Bennett & Heyman at (410) 429-7856. You can also contact the firm online.