Maryland Court Discusses Splitting Medical Malpractice Claims

People harmed by incompetent medical care can seek damages from the health care providers that caused their injuries. They are only afforded one chance to prove liability, though. This means not only that plaintiffs cannot attempt to re-litigate a medical malpractice claim that has already been resolved but also that they are not permitted to pursue multiple medical malpractice claims arising out of the same set of facts. This was demonstrated in a recent opinion issued by a Maryland court, in which the court dismissed the plaintiff’s medical malpractice case due to claims splitting. If you suffered injuries due to neglectful care from a medical professional, it is smart to speak to a Maryland medical malpractice lawyer to discuss your potential claims.

The Plaintiff’s Claims

It is reported that the plaintiff underwent treatment with the defendant for a wound on his leg that would not heal. He was prescribed multiple tests and medications, but the wound did not improve. He continued to treatment and had ongoing symptoms of pain and swelling. He eventually filed a lawsuit against the defendant, setting forth numerous claims, including medical negligence. The defendant moved to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims on several grounds, including the fact that the plaintiff had a similar lawsuit pending in another court that arose out of the same alleged harm.

Splitting Medical Malpractice Claims

In its review of the plaintiff’s claims and the defendant’s motion, the court noted that when the plaintiff filed the subject case, he already had a lawsuit in another court in which he alleged harm caused by improper medical care in the context of treatment of his leg wound. The court explained that plaintiffs are typically not permitted to pursue the same claims in more than one simultaneous lawsuit. It elaborated that the rule against claim splitting bars plaintiffs from prosecuting their claims piecemeal. Instead, they are obligated to present all claims arising out of a single act in one lawsuit.

When a court is presented with the issue of claim splitting, a court will conduct a traditional res judicata analysis, and if the second suit involves the same parties, or those in privity with the original parties, and arises out of the same transaction as the first claim, the second case will be barred. In the subject case, the court found that the lawsuit arose out of the same operative facts as the first matter and that the interests of judicial economy outweighed the plaintiff’s interest in bringing the second suit. Thus, the court dismissed the case.

Meet with an Experienced Maryland Medical Malpractice Attorney  

Careless doctors who fail to proper treatment can be held accountable for the harm they cause their patients to suffer. If you were hurt by an incompetent physician, you might be able to recover compensation via a medical negligence claim, and you should meet with an attorney as soon as possible. The dedicated Maryland medical malpractice attorneys of Arfaa Law Group can assess the circumstances surrounding your harm and help you to seek the best legal result possible under the facts of your case. You can contact us via our form online or at (410) 889-1850 to set up a meeting.

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