Joint and Several Liability in Maryland Medical Malpractice Cases

Oftentimes, when a person sustains a medical injury, multiple parties are to blame. If you or a loved one has been harmed by a healthcare provider’s negligence, you need skilled legal counsel to review your case to identify any and all potentially responsible parties. Medical malpractice cases that have multiple defendants are not only incredibly complex; they require an enormous amount of paperwork so having an experienced Baltimore medical malpractice attorney is vital to your case.

Medical Malpractice

In order to understand the concept of joint and several liability, you must first understand the basics of medical malpractice. Medical malpractice is defined as any act or omission by a physician or other healthcare provider that departs from the generally accepted standards of practice in the medical community and is the direct cause of injury or death to a patient. As a practical matter, medical malpractice claims are civil claims that are filed against healthcare providers whose negligence caused harm to a patient.

Joint and Several Liability

The theory of a “joint tortfeasor” comes from the common law idea that it is possible for an injury to be caused by the conduct of multiple parties who may all share fault for the injury. Maryland is only one of eight pure joint and several liability states in the country under which each defendant is on the hook for the entire amount of damages regardless of the amount of responsibility. As such, when multiple defendants are liable for medical malpractice, each defendant is jointly and severally liable. This means that each is responsible for the full amount of any judgment. It is important to note that this does not mean that a plaintiff can recover the full amount from each defendant. Rather, the plaintiff can collect the full amount from each defendant only one time either from one defendant in whole or from multiple defendants in part.

However, if one defendant pays more than his fair share of the verdict, that defendant may recover “contribution” from the other defendants to the claim. Contribution is a claim brought by one tortfeasor against another tortfeasor to recover some or all of the money damages the first torrtfeasor owed to an injured patient as a result of a settlement or judgment in favor of that patient. Under Maryland law, this can be done in one of two ways: a cross-claim for contribution against the other defendant or through a third-party claim for contribution against the other defendant.

 Hiring and Experienced Baltimore Medical Malpractice Attorney

Medical mistakes can be the result of both doctor negligence and hospital negligence. There may be additional liable parties as well. In some cases, the patient may make a full recovery but in the most serious cases, the injury will impact a person’s entire life. If you or someone close to you has suffered due to a medical professional’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your harm. At Arfaa Law Group, we are committed to protecting the rights of Maryland clients in complex medical malpractice cases. Call us today at 410-889-1850 or contact us online.

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