Frequently asked questions about the law and medical malpractice issues.
- What is Medical Malpractice?
- What is Catastrophic Injury?
- What is Wrongful Death?
- What is a Survivor Action?
- Do I Have a Case?
- What Happens Once my Case is Filed?
Medical Malpractice is a term for negligence that occurs when a doctor, hospital, nursing home or other health care provider improperly treats a patient and causes injury. Common types of Medical Malpractice include:
- Birth injury resulting in cerebral palsy
- Missed or failure to timely diagnose cancer and other illnesses
- Surgical errors
- Negligently leaving a foreign object inside the body
- Anesthesia errors
- Failure to diagnose and treat sepsis
- Failure to give proper information about treatment options
- Brain Injuries
- Injuries causing coma
- Paraplegia or quadraplegia
- Patient neglect and/or nursing home abuse
- Wrongful death
Recent studies have shown that Medical Malpractice occurs at alarming rates. In fact, every day negligent medical care in the Baltimore and Washington, D.C. metropolitan areas causes a significant number of people to suffer severe and permanent injuries, and even wrongful death.
Catastrophic injury is a term used for a severe injury that involves extensive medical treatment. A Catastrophic Injury may or may not be caused by medical malpractice, and usually results in long-standing medical problems and permanent disabilities. Some examples include:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Brain injuries
- Injuries causing coma
- Paraplegia or quadriplegia
- Serious automobile collisions
- Serious truck collisions
Such injuries are severe and life changing. Burdensome medical expenses, care expenses and lost income can run into the millions of dollars. A successful catastrophic injury claim can permit a severely injured person to obtain the medical and other care needed to be able to function and have the best quality of life.
Wrongful Death is term that describes the claim that a parent, spouse or child has for the death of a loved one. A Wrongful Death claim may be based upon Medical Malpractice, Catastrophic Injury or any other type of negligence.
A Survivor Action is a term that describes the medical malpractice or negligence claim that is brought by the Estate of a person who has died.
If you of your loved one has been a victim of Medical Malpractice, Catastrophic Injury, or Wrongful Death, you may be able to bring a claim or lawsuit to recover damages. Please call us for a free initial consultation.
To determine whether there is a case, we will want to speak with you and request the injured individual's medical records. A review of what is in the records – and sometimes more importantly what is not in the records – helps us determine whether there may be a valid Medical Malpractice, Catastrophic Injury or Wrongful Death case. Our office investigates each Medical Malpractice, Catastrophic Injury and Wrongful Death case that we think may have merit. First, one of our attorneys will speak with the client to get a detailed history. Then medical records are obtained, and an experienced attorney reviews the medical records. If at that point, it appears that the case may have merit, we send the records to various medical experts who review the case and assess whether they are willing to testify in support of the case.
If our firm’s in-house analysis and the review by our medical experts reveal that you have a case, we will aggressively pursue the case for you to conclusion, either by way of a pre-suit settlement or a verdict in court. If the case has to be filed in court, we will handle all aspects of the litigation for you so that you will not have to spend any significant time or emotional energy on the case.
Almost all health care providers carry at least $1 million liability insurance.
Once a medical malpractice case is filed, the defendant’s insurance company hires a lawyer to represent the defendant in the case. Between the time the case is filed and the time of trial – which is usually about one year – we and the defendant’s attorney prepare for trial. This process is called “discovery.” During the discovery phase of the case, each side learns about the other side’s case, such as who the witnesses will be, what the witnesses will say, etc. This may be done through questions that must be answered under oath (called interrogatories), requests for the production of documents (such as medical records and bills), and depositions (interviews under oath).
Because we are experienced at determining which lawsuits are worthy of being pursued, and because of our experience and reputation with the insurance companies, the large majority of our cases settle prior to trial. Nevertheless, we prepare each and every case as if it will go to trial.
The extensive and exhaustive review and litigation process that we go through for each case obviously is time-consuming and expensive. Because most of our clients have been seriously injured and do not have the financial means to pay us to review or pursue a case, the law firm of Silverman Thompson always works on a contingency fee basis. That means that you do not pay us anything unless we are successful in obtaining compensation for you. This way, there is absolutely no financial risk to you in having us review or pursue a case for you.