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Medical malpractice in Maryland -- when is a claim appropriate?

Millions of patients in Maryland and across the country seek medical treatment each year. These patients likely have faith that their medical care providers are well-trained, careful professionals who will do everything in their power to diagnose and treat their ailments. Unfortunately, mistakes happen, and these mistakes have the potential of causing significant damage. If the mistakes happen as a result of negligence, a medical malpractice lawsuit may be appropriate.

According to some reports, over 80,000 instances of malpractice occurred over the course of a 20 year period. Many of these cases seem relatively clear mistakes -- each week, approximately 20 people have the wrong body part operated on, 20 undergo the incorrect operation, and in almost 40 cases, foreign objects are left inside a person during surgery. In addition to these examples, patients have also suffered due to an undiagnosed infection, among others.

Medical malpractice is more than simply being dissatisfied with a medical care provider. Plaintiffs in a case must prove that a doctor's or other medical professional's failure to provide an accepted standard of care led to injury or death. The burden of proof, which must be by a preponderance of the evidence, falls on the person filing the lawsuit.

If medical malpractice is properly established, any judgment award will likely vary based on the severity of the injury, the cost of future and past medical care and pain and suffering, among other issues. However, many people in Maryland file such cases for more than monetary compensation. Often, a lawsuit can prompt a change in standard procedure, protecting other patients from experiencing similar issues.

Source:, "What is Medical Malpractice?", Dec. 17, 2014

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