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“Res Ipsa Loquitur” in Maryland Malpractice Cases

gavelUnfortunately, medical errors injure countless patients each year. In Maryland malpractice cases, the fact that a patient suffered harm does not automatically mean that a physician was negligent. Instead, in order to show medical negligence, the patient must establish his or her injury was the result of the physician failing to exercise the standard of care another physician in the same specialty would have used in the same or similar circumstances.

To prevail on a traditional medical malpractice claim, the plaintiff must show the following elements. First, the medical professional must have owed a legal duty to the patient. Second, that duty must have been breached, meaning the medical professional failed to adhere to the standard of care generally used in their specialty. Third, the medical professional’s breach was a proximate cause of the patient’s injury and resulting damages. Each of these elements must be established in order for a plaintiff to be able to recover any compensation.

“Res ipsa loquitur” is Latin for “the thing that speaks for itself.” When a case is tried under the theory of res ipsa loquitur, the circumstantial evidence in the case is so strong that it eliminates possible causes of the patient’s injury other than the physician’s negligence.

Under Maryland law, plaintiffs can bring res ipsa loquitur lawsuits without expert testimony if the injury is:  i) the type that doesn’t typically occur without negligence; ii) caused by an instrumentality exclusively within the defendant’s control; and iii) not caused by an act or omission of the plaintiff. It is very rare for a medical malpractice claim to be filed on the theory of res ipsa loquitur, since most lawyers would want to have an expert testify about what happened in a particular case.

Once a patient establishes medical malpractice, he or she will be able to recover damages for the harm suffered. This typically includes compensation for medical bills, rehabilitation costs, lost income, pain and suffering, and other costs arising from the malpractice. No two cases are the same, and thus the compensation a patient will be able to recover will vary depending on the facts of the specific case.

No matter which theory is best for your medical malpractice claim, it is important to note that there is a limited time to file your claim, known as the statute of limitations. Failing to file within this time frame could mean being barred from taking legal action altogether.

If a medical professional has harmed you or someone close to you, you may be able to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the at-fault party. At Arfaa Law Group, our Baltimore medical malpractice attorneys are committed to pursuing the compensation that victims deserve for their harm. We understand the emotional toll that medical malpractice can have on a patient and the patient’s entire family, which is why you can expect the utmost compassion from our entire team. To learn more about your legal rights and options, call 410-889-1850 or contact us online.

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